Single Step DME Synthesis

The hydrogenation of mixed CO/CO2 feeds leads to dimethyl ether (DME), an intermediate for further conversion to fuel-type hydrocarbons (also DME itself is already a potential alternative to conventional diesel fuel). The single-stage process requires catalysts that catalyze both the formation of methanol and its dehydration to DME. The single-stage conversion of CO2/H2 to DME is comparatively less studied than that of CO/H2, but in addition to avoiding an energetically unfavourable RWGS step, it offers the advantage of utilizing CO2 directly as a raw material.

The main tasks in this research topic are the development and research of highly active hybrid and multifunctional catalysts, which have a methanol forming and a dehydrating functionality. The production of new catalyst materials includes the comprehensive characterisation of morphology and physical parameters, surface properties and bulk materials as well as the investigation of the scale-up capability of syntheses.

Studies on single-stage DME synthesis are carried out in reactor systems, which enable the examination of model catalysts as well as the determination of the reaction-kinetic parameters relevant for process engineering and dynamic operating modes.