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Methane to Methanol

  1. Apr 23, 2012 #1
    Methane to Methanol

    Methane to Methanol 2

    Hello everyone. In the link above is a pdf from the Department of Energy detailing how they created methanol our of water using a photochemical reactor.

    Im not sure if I am asking the correct people (you people) but I was wondering if you people could help me as Chemistry is not my forte.

    I therefore have a few questions Id like to ask....

    1. is the tungsten oxide catalyst a static/permanent feature in its capacity as a catalyst inside the reactor or is it a consumable which needs perpetual replenishing? If it is not, is there a method where after the process has finished you can salvage or capture the tungsten catalyst from the solution?

    2. is the nitrogen used to cool the UV lamp built within a closed loop as a coolant inside the reactor or is it a consumable which needs perpetual replenishing?

    3. The report suggests that visible light is possible over UV lamp to use for methane conversion for practical considerations for quartz reactor construction. Is this correct?

    Thanks for any feedback given
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 23, 2012 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    By definition catalyst is not consumed in the reaction. Doesn't mean it lasts forever.
  4. Jun 22, 2012 #3
    These articles were very useful to me, thanks for posting.

    Guy above me is right, catalysts are never consumed by a reaction. But certain phenomena like coking, fouling, or deactivation can make a catalyst unusable and necessitate regeneration or replacement. In this article, it looks like the catalyst is used constantly without being replaced. If deactivation of the catalyst was observed, they should have reported that.

    The nitrogen to cool the lamp is probably just a nitrogen stream that they release to the atmosphere because they're in a lab and N2 is cheap. In a commercial process, the cooling medium would probably be in a loop as you suggested. So the N2 must be constantly replenished.
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