Dr. Carmo Pereira
DuPont Clean Technologies
Abstract: Industrial reactors enable chemical transformations that may upgrade the quality of the feed, produce chemicals, and/or reduce process pollutants. The catalysts in these reactors are engineered to obtain the required (steady state) throughput of product over a certain time. In addition to throughput, there are additional commercialization constraints that involve cost, uptime, emissions, and project timing. The proper design of the catalyst and reactor often is key to the successful deployment of the process.
In addition to identifying the active site and the reaction mechanism, additional application development work is required to commercialize a catalyst. The active site must function within a range of operating conditions and in the presence of impurities that may impact activity and selectivity. Reactor pressure drop constraints can dictate the size and structure of the catalyst. The availability of active sites in a pellet is maximized by optimizing its size, shape and pore structure to minimize heat and mass transport limitations. The number of active sites in a catalyst may dramatically decrease with time due to poisoning, masking, sintering, or pore blockage. An understanding of the deactivation mechanism under operating conditions provides a basis for the reactor operating strategy and for sizing reactors that have a warranted life. A process flowsheet containing a useful reactor model may be subsequently value-engineered to cost-effectively meet the processing objective.
This talk will present several vignettes from the author’s experience where chemical reaction engineering methodologies were used to engineer industrial catalysts used in petrochemical, chemical, and environmental applications.