Collaboration between Ingen GTL and the Surface Chemistry and Catalysis Group of the University of Aberdeen, funded by a Kick Start Award, has led to the successful improvement of the performance of a catalyst developed by the company. The catalyst is employed for the high temperature hydrogenation of carbon dioxide, a reaction of important industrial use. Ingen GTL has expanded its patent portfolio as a result of this project and is now at the stage of commercialising the technology.

Description of the project

Ingen GTL Ltd (iGTL), a company with wide experience in the oil and gas sector, recently developed an iron catalyst for the high temperature hydrogenation of carbon dioxide. This reaction is very important in the chemical industry to obtain different products from synthesis gas (syngas). The company contacted the Surface Chemistry and Catalysis Group of Professor James Anderson since the catalyst required detailed characterisation, performance optimisation, and development for industrial scale-up. The Encompass Kick Start Award (KSA) was used to address these requirements.

Varying the preparation method of the catalyst led to a new version with enhanced baseline characteristics together with a greatly improved performance. During optimisation, different active metal formulations and promoter compositions were screened; new formulations were tested to establish the effect of the variation in composition on catalytic performance.

A final test demonstrated that the catalyst can be employed to efficiently convert syngas produced from natural gas and from biomass with a wide range of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and hydrogen ratios. This is a significant advantage over other commercial catalysts of the same type, since they are much more restrictive in their feed composition and demand natural gas to maximise their performance.

For Richard Hyman, iGTL’s CEO, collaboration with the University of Aberdeen was very important since it allowed their catalyst to undergo a broad a range of test variations, with full access to a reactor and with dedicated personnel to the project. It was also crucial to be able to establish a pathway for improving the catalyst.

The improved catalyst resulting from the Kick Start Award, though not for sale, is now the core of iGTL’s core product, the syngas conversion reactor (currently still under development). This equipment will be adapted and optimised for the new catalyst before it is available in the market. The success of the project opens the way for future collaborations between both parties.

For further information, contact

Dr Miguel Rey, Research & Innovation

Email: Miguel Rey

Tel: 01224 274157