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From bench scale to pilot plant: A 150x scaled-up configuration of a microwave-driven structured reactor for methane dehydroaromatization

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  • I. Julian, University of Zaragoza, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN)
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  • C.M. Pedersen, Danish Technological Institute
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  • A.B. Jensen
  • A.K. Baden, Danish Technological Institute
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  • J.L. Hueso, University of Zaragoza, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN)
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  • A.V. Friderichsen, Danish Technological Institute
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  • H. Birkedal
  • R. Mallada, University of Zaragoza, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN)
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  • J. Santamaria, University of Zaragoza, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN)
Microwave-assisted gas-phase conversion on structured catalysts is emerging as a promising process intensification technology in the field of heterogeneous catalysis. The combination of selective heating and structured catalytic materials induces a temperature difference between the heated catalytic sample and the surrounding void regions to avoid non-selective gas-phase reactions. This operational principle allowed inhibiting thermal cracking in alkane dehydrogenation processes as well as retarding catalyst deactivation by coking in methane dehydroaromatization (MDA) processes. However, its effectiveness has not been reported so far out of the laboratory scale conditions. This work addresses the scaling of the microwave-assisted MDA process from lab scale experiments to a scaled-up configuration capable of stable operation with a 150-fold higher feeding rate. The scaling-up potential and main obstacles to overcome for this technology are critically discussed. In addition, a techno-economic assessment of the MW-MDA process is presented. The catalytic activity was kept for seven consecutive reaction cycles, i.e. 35 h MW-MDA, prior to a progressive decay due to permanent deactivation caused by zeolite dealumination and active metal loss. The scaled set-up operated for up to 295 consecutive hours under unmanned operation conducting 4 -h MDA-regeneration cycles on Mo/ZSM-5@SiC monoliths and resulting in 125-fold increase of converted methane and a 450-fold increase of benzene (0.17 LC6H6/h) in comparison with the laboratory scale tests. Scaled set-up experiments were run using only a 6-fold microwave input power, thus, highlighting the non-linearity between energy consumption and scaling factor for this technology and the importance of microwave cavity design.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCatalysis Today
Pages (from-to)21-30
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

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