The Linde Group opened a new Pilot Reformer research facility at Pullach near Munich. The company has invested approximately EUR 5 million in total to expand Pullach’s research and development capacity. The Linde Pilot Reformer will be used to refine steam reforming technology for the production of synthesis gas – a mixture consisting of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The carbon feedstock for synthesis gas can be in the form of natural gas, liquid petroleum gas (LPG), naphtha, or carbon dioxide.
Linde intends to use this pilot facility to test and optimize all kinds of approaches to reforming. Tests in the pilot reformer are currently focused on the dry reforming. This process was developed by Linde in cooperation with its partners BASF and hte (responsible for catalyst development), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology/KIT (responsible for simulations), and DECHEMA (supplier of materials). The pilot project has been awarded funding by the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) of just under one EUR million1.
The production of synthesis gas through dry reforming of natural gas means that carbon dioxide can be used on an industrial scale as an economical feedstock. The process is also significantly more energy efficient than the conventional method of reforming. The synthesis gas can be used to produce valuable downstream products such as base chemicals or fuels.
The dry reforming process also offers cost efficiencies relative to partial oxidation – the conventional method used up to now to produce CO-rich synthesis gases. These would be of particular interest to small and medium-sized plants.
If the dry reforming pilot proves successful, there are plans to commercialise the process when the funded project comes to an end in 2017 and build a reference plant for a Linde customer.
- Linde AG, Pullach, Munich