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2.

Section 1: Syngas

Chemical composition of hydrolysed Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME) is assumed to


be:
Glucose
Hydrogen Sulphide

0.995
0.005

Hydrolysed POME is heated to 38C at 1atm before entering the anaerobic


digestor. Anaerobic digestion is a three stage biological process that consists of
acidogenesis, acetogenesis and methanogenesis to allow the degration of POME
into volatile fatty acids (VFAs) (Ling, 2007) with the presence of acid forming
bacteria. These volatile acids will be further converted into methane, carbon
dioxide and hydrogen sulphide. This process has an operating condition of 38C
and 1atm. Thus, this operation has less risks.

The reaction of methanogenesis is as follows:

C6 H12 O6 3 CH 4 +3 CO2

The gas collected from the anaerobic digestor is compressed to 8atm and
preheated to 200C before entering the Sulphur and carbon dioxide removal
units for biogas upgrading to obtain richer amount of methane. After this
process, the gas is further compressed to 100atm and heated to 700C to allow
the conversion of methane to syngas in the autothermal reformer.
In the autothermal reformer, the upgraded biogas and steam is passed through a
fixed bed catalyst to allow catalytic partial oxidation (Aasberg-Petersen and
Sandahl Christensen, 2001) at the operating conditions of 700C and 100atm.
This is the key process in the preparation of syngas from biogas.
The reaction of autothermal reforming is as follows:

4CH 4 +2H 2 O+O2 10 H 2 +4 CO

2.2 Section 2: Methanol Synthesis Loop


Hydrogen and carbon monoxide gas mixture is passed through a cooler to
decrease its temperature to 200C and is maintained in the vapour phase to be
prepared for methanol synthesis. This process takes place in the operating
conditions of 200C and 100atm.
The reaction of methanol synthesis is as follows:

CO+2 H2 CH3 OH

After the conversion of carbon monoxide and hydrogen to methanol,


unreacted carbon monoxide and methanol goes through an expander and cooler
to reduce the pressure and temperature to 1atm and 20C. This is done so that
methanol is condensed to liquid while carbon monoxide remains in vapour form
at this conditions to allow easier separation because of their different phase and
density.

2.3 Section 3: Methanol Distillation


Dissolved carbon monoxide is removed from crude methanol by distillation at
20C and atmospheric pressure to the top of the column and pure methanol
leaves at the bottom.

2.4 Assumptions
a)
b)
c)
d)
e)

Perfect mixing
No pressure lost within equipment
No pressure lost within pipeline
Compressor and expander are all isothermal
100% removal of hydrogen sulphide and carbon dioxide

2.5 Environmental Considerations


There are four streams leaving the plant excluding the methanol product (stream
26). These are:

Stream
Stream
Stream
Stream

8: Sulphur content removed


12: Carbon dioxide removed
16: Water removed from carbon dioxide scrubber
25: Unreacted carbon monoxide from methanol synthesis reactor

Two of these streams are gaseous while the remaining two are aqueous. For
stream 8, sulphur is removed in molten form at 200C. Therefore, this by-product
can be sold as feedstock to another plant to minimize waste. For stream 12 and
25, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide is hazardous to the environment if exit
freely from the plant. Therefore, a capture method is done for both gaseous to be
sent off to a treatment center or sold to another company that requires them as
feedstock. The water removed in stream 16 can be removed from the plant
without any threat to the environment. Another environment consideration is
taken when recycled water from the carbon dioxide remover unit is used to
generate steam for the autothermal reformer in the effort of reducing fresh water
used.
2.6 Compressors and Turbines
In total, there are two compressors and one expander in the plant. The power
required by each of the compressor and expander used in the process is
calculated by the equation:

Power Required =

ni MW i
i

First compressor:

Reference
Aasberg-Petersen, K. and Sandahl Christensen, T. (2001). PRODUCTION OF
HYDROGEN AND CARBON MONOXIDE CONTAINING SYNTHESIS GAS BY PARTIAL
OXIDATION. US 6,730,285 B2.
Ling, Y. (2007). TREATABILITY OF PALM OIL MILL EFFLUENT (POME) USING BLACK
LIQUOR IN AN ANAEROBIC TREATMENT PROCESS. 1st ed. [ebook] Penang:
Universiti Sains Malaysia. Available at:
http://eprints.usm.my/9591/1/TREATABILITY_OF_PALM_OIL_MILL_EFFLUENT_(POM
E)_USING_BLACK_LIQUOR_IN_AN_ANAEROBIC_TREATMENT_PROCESS.pdf
[Accessed 15 Mar. 2015].