Semi-Continuous Reactor Engine Grant uri icon


  • In the future abundant low-cost electrons from renewable solar and wind energy will offer significant economic opportunity, which can be exploited using electricity driven chemical reactors and processes. The world transitions into e-mobility are occurring at a rapid pace. With an intent to leverage more than hundred years of development of internal combustion engines, and millions of available stranded engines and manufacturing capacity, this project aims to invent an electricity-driven Semi-Continuous Reactor Engine (SCRE) by repurposing conventional car engines as potentially hybrid reactors to make high value-added chemicals directly from methane and/or ethaneâ strategic for Qatar. Thus, reducing what can be otherwise classified as a waste for society. Analogs to such a concept, i.e., reciprocating piston engines and engine like designs (for example, the rapid or pulsed compression reactors) have been studied for chemical conversions to monetize natural gas to higher value chemicals and fuels. Promising results and-also process intensification were found that can significantly reduce the equipment size and waste produced while energy efficiency and safety improved. These advantages are realized because chemical reactions are exposed to a new operating window of very short pulses of typically milliseconds at high pressures of hundreds of bars and high temperatures above 1500 K. In one such system, sub-millisecond pulses of 3000 bar and 4000 K have been claimed; that is remote from any conventional reactor system, hence opening the possibility of exploring new reaction parameter space. Co-sponsoring industry and participating PI in this proposalâ Shellâ has previously considered and participated in the development of a free moving piston reactor engine with Enchontech, NL. Operating at very high RPM (up to 400 Hz), the goal was to demonstrate the feasibility of the partial oxidation of propane into syngas with a view to later develop the technology further for methane conversion. The performance was found promising, but hydrogen leakage via the piston-cylinder gap of about 10 μm needed improvement and demanding heating and cooling rates (above 100 K/s) were needed that could not be met with the available design at the time. With a catalyst integrated into a more custom-made Reactor Engine, the piston frequency could be significantly reduced (less than 10 RPM) whilst achieving good performance demonstrated for methane-reforming. Adding catalysts to the SCRE can, therefore, avoid the need to use extreme conditions, construction materials, and need for complex reactor designs. The main goals of this present project are to: 1. Explore the potential of repurposing conventional car engines as chemical reactors-SCRE but driven electrically. ..........

date/time interval

  • 2020 - 2024