Structurally Tunable Highly Active Metal Oxides for Tri-Reforming of Methane


Reference #: 01304

The University of South Carolina is offering licensing opportunities for Structurally Tunable Highly Active Metal Oxides for Tri-Reforming of Methane



Catalytic tri-reforming is a unique process that can be used to utilize CO2 emissions directly from a combustion source, such as a coal or natural gas power plant, using natural gas as the primary reactant. Currently, one tri-reforming plant is operated by Korea Gas Corporation to produce dimethyl ether (DME) in South Korea. The plant can produce 10,000 tons of DME per day using pellets of Ni/Ce-ZrO2/Al2O3 catalyst for tri-reforming. Successful operation of this plant demonstrates that the tri-reforming process is feasible; however, additional developments are required to increase the CO2 conversion at lower temperatures while increasing the catalyst life time.


Invention Description:

A stable and highly active catalyst has been developed to convert carbon dioxide to syngas directly from the stack of fossil-fuel-fired power plants using tri-reforming of natural gas. The catalyst is designed to operate in harsh reaction conditions and has been shown to have high carbon dioxide conversion efficiency. The unique structure of the catalyst provides excellent tri-reforming activity and long catalyst life time.


Potential Applications:

The tri-reforming technology is a viable option for CO2 utilization. However, the technology has not been commercialized in the United States or applied to any fossil-fuel-fired power plants to utilize CO2 emissions. This is due to the lack of stable catalyst formulations at various feed conditions and low CO2 conversion efficiency at low reaction temperatures.

This invention is the development of a ground-breaking catalyst that can provide high CO2 conversion efficiency at low temperatures and low coke formation at high methane to oxidizer (O2, H2O) ratios. The unique catalyst morphology can stabilize the active metal components in the catalyst and prevents catalyst deactivation. The successful development of the current invention opens possibilities to apply tri-reforming directly to the fossil fuel-fired power plants. Additionally, the invention can be used as a fuel processor in solid oxide and molten carbonate fuel cells for electricity generation. The invention can also be applied to many catalytic processes that have suffered catalyst deactivation through coke formation and high temperature.


Advantages and Benefits:

This robust catalyst formulation can withstand harsh power plant operating conditions. The catalyst has a high CO2 conversion (75%) and negligible coke formation at high methane to oxidizer (O2, H2O) ratios. This conversion efficiency is higher than the commercialized one by Korean Gas Corporation. Most importantly, the catalyst does not suffer from coke formation and sintering, and has a longer operating time for tri-reforming. The successful development of this invention can make use of tri-reforming in fossil-fired-power plants and minimize operating costs.


Patent Information:
Title App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date Patent Status
Nickel-Containing Yolk-Shell Catalysts Utility United States 16/136,309   9/20/2018     Published
For Information, Contact:
Technology Commercialization
University of South Carolina
Jochen Lauterbach
Erdem Sasmaz
Sunkyu Kim
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