Conversion of MixAlco Process Sludge to Liquid Transportation Fuels
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About 8 tons of dry undigested solid waste is generated by the MixAlco process for every 40 tons of food residue waste fed into the process. This MixAlco process produces liquid fuels and the sludge generated can be further converted into synthesis gas using the process of pyrolysis. The hydrogen component of the product synthesis gas may be separated by pressure swing adsorption and used in the hydrogenation of ketones into fuels and chemicals. The synthesis gas may also be catalytically converted into liquid fuels via the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis process. The auger-type pyrolyzer was operated at a temperature between 630-770 degrees C and at feed rates in the range of 280-374 g/minute. The response surface statistical method was used to obtain the highest syngas composition of 43.9 +/- 3.36 v % H2/33.3 +/- 3.29 v % CO at 740 degrees C. The CH4 concentration was 20.3 +/- 2.99 v %. For every ton of sludge pyrolyzed, 5,990 g H2 (719.3 MJ), 65,000 g CO (660 MJ) and 21,170 g CH4 (1055.4 MJ) were projected to be produced at optimum condition. At all temperatures, the sum of the energies of the products was greater than the electrical energy needed to sustain the process, making it energy neutral. To generate internal H2 for the MixAlco process, a method was developed to efficiently separate H2 using pressure swing adsorption (PSA) from the synthesis gas, with activated carbon and molecular sieve 5A as adsorbents. The H2 can be used to hydrogenate ketones generated from the MixAlco process to more liquid fuels. Breakthrough curves, cycle mass balances and cycle bed productivities (CBP) were used to determine the maximum hydrogen CBP using different adsorbent amounts at a synthesis gas feed rate of 10 standard lpm and pressure of 118 atm. A 99.9 % H2 purity was obtained. After a maximum CBP of 66 % was obtained further increases in % recovery led to a decrease in CBP. The synthesis gas can also be catalytically converted into liquid fuels by the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS) process. A Co-SiO2/Mo-Pd-Pt-ZSM-5 catalyst with a metal-metal-acid functionality was synthesized with the aim of increasing the selectivity of JP-8 (C10-C17) fuel range. The specific surface areas of the two catalysts were characterized using the BET technique. The electron probe microanalyzer (with WDS and EDS capabilities) was then used to confirm the presence of the applied metals Co, Mo, Pd and Pt on the respective supports. In addition to the gasoline (C4-C12) also produced, the synthesis gas H2:CO ratio was also adjusted to 1.90 for optimum cobalt performance in an enhanced FTS process. At 10 atm (150 psig) and 250 degrees C, the conventional FTS catalyst Co-SiO2 produced fuels rich in hydrocarbons within the gasoline carbon number range. At the same conditions the Co-SiO2-Mo-Pd-Pt/HZSM-5 catalyst increased the selectivity of JP-8. When Co-SiO2/Mo-Pd-Pt-HZSM-5 was used at 13.6 atm (200 psig) and 250 degrees C, a further increase in the selectivity of JP-8 and to some extent diesel was observed. The relative amounts of olefins and n-paraffins decreased with the products distribution shifting more towards the production of isomers.
% recovery, % purity
cycle bed productivity
pressure swing adsorption
response surface method
Teiseh, Eliasu 1973- (2012). Conversion of MixAlco Process Sludge to Liquid Transportation Fuels. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from