A methanol synthesis unit (MSU) that directly converts carbon dioxide and hydrogen into methanol and water was developed and tested. The MSU consists of: a high-pressure side that includes a compressor, a reactor, and a throttling valve; and a low-pressure side that includes a knockout drum, and a mixer where fresh gas enters the system. Methanol and water are produced at high pressure in the reactor and then exit the system under low pressure and temperature in the knockout drum. The remaining, unreacted recycle gas that leaves the knockout drum is mixed with fresh synthesis gas before being sent back through the synthesis loop. The unit operates entirely on electricity and includes a high-pressure electrolyzer to obtain gaseous hydrogen and oxygen directly from purified water. Thus, the sole inputs to the trailer are water, carbon dioxide, and electricity, while the sole outputs are methanol, oxygen, and water. A distillation unit separates the methanol and water mixture on site so that the synthesized water can be reused in the electrolyzer. Here, we describe and characterize the operation of the MSU and offer some possible design improvements for future iterations of the device, based on experience.
Practical Experience With a Mobile Methanol Synthesis Device
Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY ENGINEERING: INCLUDING WIND ENERGY AND BUILDING ENERGY CONSERVATION. Manuscript received December 8, 2014; final manuscript received August 5, 2015; published online October 15, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Wojciech Lipinski.
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Morgan, E. R., and Acker, T. L. (October 15, 2015). "Practical Experience With a Mobile Methanol Synthesis Device." ASME. J. Sol. Energy Eng. December 2015; 137(6): 064506. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4031513
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