Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


The search for fuels without contaminant components


To convert a gaseous fuel into a clean liquid one is the target of the research project being undertaken by the School of Industrial Engineering and Telecommunications Engineers of Bilbao in the Basque Country. It involves, in the final analysis, obtaining fuels which do not have contaminant components, i.e. sulphur, nitrogen or aromatic components.

Participating in this project, financed by the MARCO programme of the European Union, are nine groups from different European countries, under the co-ordination of the School of Engineering. All of them are researching ways of obtaining clean fuels from natural gas.

The process basically consists of two stages: the first involves converting natural gas into synthesised gas, a mixture of carbon monoxide with carbon dioxide and hydrogen. In the second phase, this synthesised gas produces carbohydrates, from which petrol is subsequently produced.

The tasks corresponding to this first stage are being undertaken in a pilot plant at the University of the Basque Country (EHU/UPV). To this end, the EHU/UPV has a small reactor for such experiments. Fundamentally, work is being carried out to obtain catalysts for the conversion of the natural gas into that synthesised gas. These are necessary for the subsequent manufacture of hydrocarbons and what is being sought are catalysts where reactions can take place at lower temperatures, with greater criteria of selection, technically more efficient and economically more viable as well – in other words, reactions which are cheaper than those conventional catalysts. These catalysts, once prepared with these modifications and innovations and characterised, they have to be tested, i.e. they have to be made to react. Making the natural gas react with oxygen and also with water vapour in order to produce this synthesised gas, comparing how the different catalysts behave and selecting those showing the greatest advantages.

The process is very simple. The gas is introduced into the reactor, which is full of an inert material. The catalyst is introduced into the mix and the reaction initiated. This is the moment of transformation: the methane and oxygen converts into hydrogen and carbon monoxide. These gases go through a condenser, in which the water is drawn off and the gas is taken to the gas chromatograph.

In this machine the parts that have not reacted are analysed, as well as the yield (i.e. the level of conversion), etc. Aapart from testing the behaviour of various catalysts, researchers at the EHU/UPV experiment with the temperature, pressure, capacities, etc. All these parameters are controlled by computer.

Researchers have developed catalyst prototypes that notably enhance the behaviour of commercial products, as well as achieving the possibility of carrying out conversions at lower temperatures. Industrial application of the mentioned improvements considerably lower the production costs.

Researchers at the EHU/UPV are quite aware that natural gas reserves will one day dry up: This is why they are studying the possibilities of getting similar results from, for example, the gasification of the biomass. The research project is to finish in December of next year.

Nerea Pikabea | Basque research
Further information:

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht New method increases energy density in lithium batteries
24.10.2016 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science

nachricht 'Super yeast' has the power to improve economics of biofuels
18.10.2016 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>