Enhancement of the Direct Synthesis of Dimethyl Ether (DME) from Synthesis Gas by Macro- and Microstructuring of the Catalytic Bed
This work reports on a modelling study of the influence of the distribution of metallic and acidic active centers within a catalytic fixed-bed reactor for the direct synthesis of dimethyl ether (DME), conducted to demonstrate the potential of reactor-level and pellet-level structuring of catalytic active centers in process integration and intensification. To account for the pellet structure, the analysis was performed with the aid of a heterogeneous model considering both interphase and
... erphase and intrapellet mass transport resistances. The study evaluated, in terms of DME and methanol yield and selectivity, the performance of a tubular reactor loaded with a physical mixture of monofunctional catalyst pellets or structured bifunctional catalyst pellets with different arrangements of the catalytic centers. It was confirmed that bifunctional catalysts overperform significantly a physical mixture of monofunctional particles. Moreover, it was shown that the internal structure of a bifunctional catalyst pellet is an important feature that deserves to be exploited deeper, in view of further intensification of the DME synthesis process to be achieved with a better reactor design.