Chemical Engineering and Processing, Vol.131, 137-143, 2018
Zeolite minilith: A unique structured catalyst for the methanol to gasoline process
Structured microchannel H-ZSM-5 catalysts containing up to 80 wt% zeolite (balance bentonite) were fabricated by unit operations of paste preparation, extrusion, drying and firing. The structured catalysts, called miniliths due to their micrometre-range dimensions, were composed of parallel cylindrical channels with a wall thickness of 200-300 mu m, density of 2.1 channels/mm(2) and a channel diameter of 300 mu m. These miniliths were characterised by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray analysis, N-2 physisorption and thermogravimetric analysis. For the first time, these miniliths were tested for the conversion of methanol to gasoline at 370 degrees C, 3 bar and a weight hourly space velocity (WHSV) of up to 1170 h(-1). A gasoline product yield of 53% was obtained at a methanol conversion of 74% over the ZSM-5 miniliths. The pressure drop at the same conversion over a packed-bed reactor of equal ZSM-5 content was 2 orders of magnitude higher than that of the minilith. Reducing the amount of ZSM-5 catalyst in the packed bed, to obtain similar inlet pressure as the ZSM-5 minilith gave the same product yield at a much higher conversion (81%) demonstrating the potential of these structured microchannel reactors.