Production and high temperature treatment of syngas.
Botha, Martin Francis.
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Gas cleaning is an essential step in many chemical processes. The reason for cleaning is to remove components that can damage equipment or inhibit further reactions. The treatment can include the removal of particulates, removal of one or more chemical species, or the conversion of one species to another. The gases include natural gases, combustion gases or synthesis gas (syngas). Of particular importance is the hot gas desulphurization (HGD) of syngas after gasification. This method of treatment offers potential energy and raw material savings to traditional ‘wet’ gas cleaning methods, such as physical or chemical absorption. Syngas is a valuable intermediate product because it can be processed into a number of different chemicals. These range from hydrocarbon chains (Fischer-Tropsch reactions), methanol, and ammonia (from hydrogen in the syngas). Methanol and ammonia are important raw materials to produce other chemicals. Syngas can be used for production of electricity via gas turbines in an Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) plant. In this study, a laboratory scale gasification and desulphurization unit was designed and constructed for removal of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) from syngas. The gasifier operates at moderately high temperature (700-900 °C) and low pressure (1-3 bar g) to produce syngas containing H2S (1-6 mol %) from a liquid hydrocarbon fuel mixture and oxygen. Desulphurization occurs in a fixed bed isothermal reactor (300-600 °C) whereby H2S is removed by chemical reaction with a sorbent. The fuel used was a mixture of methanol and ipropanethiol and the sorbent chosen was zinc oxide. The apparatus was tested to obtain a reliable experimental method. A series of experiments were conducted to determine two results: Firstly, to see the performance of the unit during repeated sorbent testing (i.e. a systematic experimental run programme). Secondly, to determine the effect of some process variables (temperature, flowrate and particle size) on the conversion of sorbent. GC analysis of the syngas showed consistent gas composition during the experiment, an important result which justifies this new method of syngas production from a liquid fuel. The final conversions from ZnO to ZnS ranged from 2-12 mole %. However, there was some variation under repeated conditions, which showed the need for additional method development.