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R3 Sciences converts natural gas to methanol

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Researchers at R3 Sciences, a division of Enersciences Holdings, have successfully produced commercial grade methanol in a continuous flow pilot system using a new, novel liquid, homogenous catalytic process.

Advances in homogenous catalysis developed by researchers at R3 Sciences will allow for the production of commercial grade methanol from air-derived synthesis gas, with only trace levels of catalyst residual. The unique catalyst can be safely prepared from inexpensive components, is easy to transport and does not require pre-treatment. The catalyst can also be recycled or reactivated for reuse.

Typical methanol production requires the use of solid, heterogeneous catalyst process at high temperatures and high pressures. However, R3 Sciences process operates at low temperature and low pressure, with high single-pass conversion. The continuous flow gas to methanol reaction does not produce any water and eliminates the need for distillation of the product after production. The simplicity of the process design, together with a low cost, onsite catalyst replenishment without operational interruption makes R3 Sciences cost of production one of the lowest available.

The transportable, modular approach offered by R3 Sciences will allow operators to bring the process to the source of natural gas, opening up opportunities to commericialise stranded and flared natural gas. The methanol produces can also provide a low-cost technology start for other multi-step GTL (gas-to-liquid) processes for DME, gasoline, jet and diesel fuel.

R3 Sciences plans to commericialise the process this year, and is also pursuing a business model that includes licensing the technology and catalyst to strategic partners. The company currently operates a research and development laboratory in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

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