Catalytic supercritical water gasification: Interaction of sulfur with ZnO and the ruthenium catalyst

Continuous catalytic supercritical water gasification (CSCWG; 400 degrees C, 28 MPa) of microalgal biomass (Chlorella vulgaris) was carried out at the microalgae production site of ZHAW in Wadenswil (Switzerland) non-stop over a period of 100 h. Characterization of the spent catalyst showed that mainly sulfur poisoning, and to a lesser extent coking, salt deposits, and some sintering of the Ru nanoparticles were responsible for the deactivation of the catalyst after 55 h of time on-stream. The commercial zinc oxide adsorbent exhibited a high mechanical stability and good sulfur adsorption performance under supercritical water conditions although its specific surface area collapsed. In summary, the use of a zinc oxide adsorbent upstream of the catalyst bed, together with a higher ruthenium loading of the catalyst, improved the long-term performance of the CSCWG process significantly.

Peng, G., Ludwig, C., & Vogel, F. (2017). Catalytic supercritical water gasification: Interaction of sulfur with ZnO and the ruthenium catalyst. Applied Catalysis B-Environmental, 202, 262-268. doi:10.1016/j.apcatb.2016.09.011

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