Heat transfer is universally recognized as a key challenge for the intensification of the Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process in compact fixed-bed reactors. For the first time in the scientific literature we demonstrate experimentally that the adoption of a highly conductive periodic open cellular structure (POCS, 3D-printed in AlSi7Mg0.6 by Selective Laser Melting) packed with catalysts pellets is a promising solution to boost heat exchange in fixed-bed FT reactors. This reactor configuration enabled us to assess the performances of a highly active Co/Pt/Al2O3 catalyst packed into the POCS at process conditions relevant to industrial Fischer-Tropsch operation. Unprecedented performances (CO conversion ≈ 80%) could be thus achieved thanks to an outstanding heat management. In fact, almost flat axial and radial temperature profiles were measured along the catalytic bed even under the most severe process conditions (i.e. high CO conversions corresponding to high volumetric heat duties), demonstrating the effective potential of this reactor concept to manage the strong exothermicity of the FT reaction. The heat transfer of the packed-POCS reactor outperformed both packed-bed and packed-foam reactors, granting smaller radial temperature gradients in the catalytic bed, as well as smaller temperature differences at the reactor wall, with larger volumetric power releases. The strengths of the packed-POCS reactor configuration are its regular geometry, which enhances the effective radial thermal conductivity, and the improved contact between the structure and the reactor wall, which governs the limiting wall heat transfer coefficient.

Adoption of 3D printed highly conductive periodic open cellular structures as an effective solution to enhance the heat transfer performances of compact Fischer-Tropsch fixed-bed reactors

Fratalocchi L.;Groppi G.;Visconti C. G.;Lietti L.;Tronconi E.
2020

Abstract

Heat transfer is universally recognized as a key challenge for the intensification of the Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process in compact fixed-bed reactors. For the first time in the scientific literature we demonstrate experimentally that the adoption of a highly conductive periodic open cellular structure (POCS, 3D-printed in AlSi7Mg0.6 by Selective Laser Melting) packed with catalysts pellets is a promising solution to boost heat exchange in fixed-bed FT reactors. This reactor configuration enabled us to assess the performances of a highly active Co/Pt/Al2O3 catalyst packed into the POCS at process conditions relevant to industrial Fischer-Tropsch operation. Unprecedented performances (CO conversion ≈ 80%) could be thus achieved thanks to an outstanding heat management. In fact, almost flat axial and radial temperature profiles were measured along the catalytic bed even under the most severe process conditions (i.e. high CO conversions corresponding to high volumetric heat duties), demonstrating the effective potential of this reactor concept to manage the strong exothermicity of the FT reaction. The heat transfer of the packed-POCS reactor outperformed both packed-bed and packed-foam reactors, granting smaller radial temperature gradients in the catalytic bed, as well as smaller temperature differences at the reactor wall, with larger volumetric power releases. The strengths of the packed-POCS reactor configuration are its regular geometry, which enhances the effective radial thermal conductivity, and the improved contact between the structure and the reactor wall, which governs the limiting wall heat transfer coefficient.
Catalyst 3D printing
Conductive structured catalysts
Fischer-Tropsch synthesis
Heat transfer
Periodic open cellular structure
Process intensification
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11311/1159093
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