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Catalyst testing in laboratory scale reactors

Modifiable, multipurpose laboratory reactors for thermochemical reactions

Catalyst testing reactor for catalytic steam reforming

We have more than 30 years of experience in catalyst testing and constructing reactor set-ups for multiple purposes. Our laboratory equipment matrix contains six modifiable reactor set-ups, pressurized TGA, four continuous gas analyzers, several gas chromatographs with various detectors (TCD, FID, FPD, BID), micro-GCs, mass spectrometers, FTIRs and HPLC liquid pumps. In addition, it is possible to take gas bags and liquid samples for more detailed analysis. We are able to feed and analyze gas streams containing steam, tar model compounds, ammonia and H2S, among more conventional gas components. It is possible to combine multiple analysis methods and take continuous online measurements from the gas streams from all set-ups simultaneously.

Our automatic control and safety systems enable overnight runs, long duration testing (e.g. 1000 hours) and cyclically changing conditions. Gas analyzer measurements, FTIR analysis and GC samples can be taken continuously during entire test run. Our skilled personnel monitor the test runs, process the data and report the results. We are able to construct and modify our set-ups according to the customer needs.

Customers are also welcome to lease our set-ups for their own use. We provide sufficient training and continuous technical support during the testing. It is also possible to connect an external apparatus to our systems.


                                                                 

​Our wide selection of reactor set-ups are constantly used for catalyst testing and process optimization. The set-ups are also regularly used for purposes outside catalyst testing. For example, we do heat and gas treatments for solid materials, provide feed gases and analysis for biotechnological systems, and costruct tailored systems for special samples.

PPFR1 – Pressurized Plug Flow Reactor

Temperature: 300 – 950 °C

Pressure: 1 – 20 bar

Flow rate: 1 – 15 l/min

Sample volume: Catalyst bed 1 – 25 cm3 or 2x2x10 monolith

Gases: CO, CO2, H2, N2, O2, CH4, C2H4, H2S, NH3, H2O, model tar compounds, possibility for additional bottle gases

 

PPFR2 – Pressurized Plug Flow Reactor

Temperature: 300 – 1000 °C

Pressure: 1 – 10 bar

Flow rate: 1 – 15 l/min

Sample volume: Catalyst bed 1 – 25 cm3 or 2x2x10 monolith

Gases: CO, CO2, H2, N2, O2, CH4, C2H4, H2S, NH3, H2O, model tar compounds, possibility for additional bottle gases

 

APFR2 – Atmospheric Plug Flow Reactor

Temperature: 300 – 1200 °C

Pressure: Atmospheric

Flow rate: 1 – 2 l/min

Sample volume: Catalyst bed 1 – 25 cm3 or 2x2x10 monolith

Gases: CO, CO2, H2, N2, O2, CH4, C2H4, H2S, NH3, H2O, model tar compounds, possibility for additional bottle gases

 

APFR3 – Atmospheric Plug Flow Reactor 

Temperature: up to 700 °C

Pressure: Atmospheric

Flow rate: up to 2 l/min

Catalyst volume: Multiple reactor types in use

Gases: CO, CO2, H2, N2, synthetic air, H2O, model tar compounds, possibility for additional bottle gases

 

Fischer-Tropsch reactor

Temperature: < 550 °C

Pressure: 100 bar

Flow rate: Typically 5 – 20 l/h

Catalyst volume: Typically 2- 50 ml (reactors with varying diameters)

Gases: Typically CO, H2, N2 or Ar, (CO2, CH4)

The system is equipped with an on-line GC-system which can be used to analyze CO, H2, N2/Ar, CO2, CH4, hydrocarbons up to C15, n-alcohols up to C12 as well as other oxygenates if needed.

 

Aqueous phase reformer

Temperature: atm - 600 °C

Pressure: atm - 40 bar

Liquid flow rate: 0.5 – 10 ml/min

Gas flow rate: N2 100 mln/min, H2 80 mln/min

Catalyst volume: Reactor dimension: DI: 12 mm, L = 405 mm. Flexible volume (possible to reduce by metal bar filling)

Product analysis: On-line GC with FID and TCD

Catalyst screening

Several catalyst samples from commercial manufacturers were screened for activity and robustness in the steam reforming of biomass gasification gas. The inlet gas contained typical impurities of biomass gasification gas, such as naphthalene, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide. The activities were tested in the temperature range from 800 °C to 1000 °C. The results are published in Kaisalo et al., Fuel 147 (2015) 208-20.

Catalyst deactivation test

Eight sample catalysts were compared for their long term durability in steam reforming of biomass gasification gas. The inlet gas had high load of hydrocarbons and H2S as major deactivating impurity. Each test continued for 400 hours and they were constantly monitored with GC, FTIR and gas analyzer. The results are published in Kaisalo et al., Fuel 147 (2015) 208-20.

Carbon formation test

Carbon formation in the steam reforming of natural gas for SOFC appliance was studied with nickel and precious metal catalysts. The effect of inlet gas O/C ratio on carbon formation was monitored. After each experiment the carbon on catalyst was oxidized in situ and the outlet gas was analyzed for CO and CO2. The results are published in Kihlman et al., Int J Hydrogen Energ 40 (2015) 1548-58.

Material test

The deactivating effect of steam on an in-house development catalyst was tested by subjecting the catalyst to a hydrothermal treatment. The activity of the catalyst was tested before and after the treatment. In the hydrothermal test the catalyst is kept at 700 °C for 85 hours with constant H2O/N2 80/20 vol% flow.

Reactor screening for scale-up

Catalytic heat exchanger reactor was tested in laboratory scale to obtain data for reactor up-scaling. A washcoated tube reactor was placed in an oil bath which maintained constant temperature despite strongly exothermic reaction. The tube reactor and the closed steel vessel for the circulating oil were constructed and the APFR3 set-up was modified to accommodate the system. Outlet gas composition was monitored continuously with gas analyzer and gas bag samples were taken for verification.

Material treatment

It is possible to utilize our high temperature furnaces and variety of gases for specific treatment of a material. For example, high temperature oxidations and reductions are regularly carried out in our laboratory. Also, treatments with impurities such as H2S are possible. As a case example, metallic powder samples were treated with hydrogen with specific heating rate.

Fischer-Tropsch experiments

The Fischer-Tropsch system has been used in studying cobalt and iron-based catalysts for Fischer-Tropsch and methanol synthesis as well as for the first phase of the bio-BTX-process. The tubular reactor system has been the workhorse in several projects and master’s theses.

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Emailinfo@vtt.fi
Tel.+358 20 722 7070
Opening hours Mon - Fri 9:00 - 11:00 and 12:00 - 15:00, UTC +3 time zone

CONTACT US

P.O. Box 1000, FI-02044 VTT, Finland
Tel. exchange +358 20 722 111
Opening hours Mon - Fri 8:00 - 16:30,
UTC +3 time zone

CUSTOMER SERVICE

info@vtt.fi
Tel. +358 20 722 7070
Opening hours Mon - Fri 9:00 - 11:00 and 12:00 - 15:00,
UTC +3 time zone