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Title:
REDUCTION OF GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSION
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/004993
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Herein disclosed is a method of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emission comprising introducing one or more feed streams into a reformer to generate synthesis gas; and converting synthesis gas to dimethyl ether (DME). In some cases, the reformer is a fluidized bed dry reforming reactor. In some cases, the reformer comprises a hydrogen membrane. In some cases, the hydrogen membrane removes hydrogen contained in the synthesis gas and shifts reforming reactions toward completion.

Inventors:
WRIGHT, Harold A. (1305 Indian Paintbrush Lane, Longmont, Colorado, 80503, US)
ROBERTSON, Mark K. (275 South Dahlia Street, Denver, Colorado, 80246, US)
JIANG, Weibin (10935 E. Berry Avenue, Englewood, Colorado, 80111, US)
Application Number:
US2017/035660
Publication Date:
January 04, 2018
Filing Date:
June 02, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
RES USA, LLC (10170 Church Ranch Way, Suite 200Westminster, Colorado, 80021, US)
International Classes:
C07C41/01; B01D71/02; B01J8/18; B01J38/30; C07C43/04
Foreign References:
US20150045456A12015-02-12
JPH10259148A1998-09-29
CN105314596A2016-02-10
CN1413973A2003-04-30
US9034208B12015-05-19
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WESTBY, Timothy S. (Porter Hedges LLP, 1000 Main St. 36th Floo, Houston Texas, 77002, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A method of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emission comprising

introducing one or more feed streams into a reformer to generate synthesis gas; and converting synthesis gas to dimethyl ether (DME).

2. The method of claim 1 wherein said reformer is a fluidized bed dry reforming reactor.

3. The method of claim 1 wherein the reformer comprises a hydrogen membrane or a hydrogen membrane coated with an erosion resistant layer.

4. The method of claim 3 wherein said hydrogen membrane removes hydrogen contained in the synthesis gas and shifts reforming reactions toward completion.

5. The method of claim 1 wherein reformed gas exits the top of the reformer and is separated from spent catalyst.

6. The method of claim 5 wherein spent catalyst is routed to a regenerator in which the catalyst is regenerated.

7. The method of claim 6 wherein a renewable fuel is used in the regenerator.

8. The method of claim 7 wherein the renewable fuel comprises landfill gas, bio-digester gas, pyrolysis oils and liquid fuels, spent glycerol, biomass derived syngas, bio-ethanol.

9. The method of claim 7 wherein the regenerator comprises an air pre-heater and the method utilizes full or partial displacement of natural gas or natural gas derived syngas with a bio-genic gaseous or liquid fuel in the air pre-heater.

10. The method of claim 7 comprising using full or partial displacement of natural gas or natural gas derived syngas with a bio-genic gaseous or liquid fuel in the regenerator.

11. The method of claim 7 wherein the renewable fuel used in the regenerator comprises high molecular weight cellulose degradation products.

12. The method of claim 7 wherein the renewable fuel used in the regenerator contains impurities including arsenic, sulfur, ammonia, chlorine, or combinations thereof.

13. The method of claim 1 comprising using full or partial displacement of natural gas feedstock with a bio-genic gaseous feedstock in the reformer.

14. The method of claim 1 wherein said one or more feed streams comprise natural gas and renewable feedstocks.

15. The method of claim 14 wherein said renewable feedstocks comprise landfill gas, bio- digester gas, bio-genic feedstocks.

16. The method of claim 1 wherein said reformer uses no process water and requires no oxygen.

17. The method of claim 1 producing C02 emissions of less than 180 g C02/liter of dimethyl ether (DME).

18. The method of claim 1 producing equivalent greenhouse gas emissions (GHGe) of less than 0.30 kg GHGe /mile.

Description:
REDUCTION OF GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSION

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

[0001] Not applicable.

BACKGROUND

Field of the Invention

[0002] This disclosure relates generally to the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission. More particularly, this disclosure relates to the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission via dry reforming of natural gas.

Background of Invention

[0003] The recent UN Climate Conference (COP 21) achieved commitments from most countries on specific GHG emission reductions, to limit global temperature rise at or below 2 degrees Celsius, by the end of this century. There is general consensus among the scientific community that this will require a reduction in GHG emissions in the order of 50% from current levels by 2050, with complete phase out of fossil fuel derived GHG emissions later in the century, by around 2080. This change will require very significant changes to the world's current energy infrastructure.

[0004] Some of these reductions will be achieved by deployment of solar, wind, nuclear energy along with increased use of electric vehicle technologies and a wide range of energy efficiency improvements. These more commercially available technologies are less able to replace the current energy infrastructure in the transportation sector, namely for heavy vehicle and long haul aircraft.

[0005] Unfortunately, conventional gas-to-liquid (GTL) technologies, by and large, do not achieve significant GHG emission reductions versus conventional oil refining; and in some cases result in higher overall wheel-to-wheel GHG emissions. They also typically require very large net water usages and often import dirty power. Hence, conventional GTL technologies don't appear to address the specific commitments made at COP 21.

[0006] Hence, there is an urgent need to find an environmentally acceptable path to transition from the current crude oil based diesel and jet fuel energy pathways to lower GHG emitting pathways for the transportation sector. A pathway that allows for utilization of the relatively clean and abundant natural gas resource that is available, while still achieving targeted GHG emissions reductions would be very beneficial. The pathway would also need to consider water usage as a key metric, as many areas of the world have water usage restrictions.

[0007] As such, there is continuing interest and need to develop suitable methods and systems to reduce GHG emissions while providing the need of fuel, e.g., in the transportation sector.

SUMMARY

[0008] Herein disclosed is a method of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emission comprising introducing one or more feed streams into a reformer to generate synthesis gas; and converting synthesis gas to dimethyl ether (DME). In an embodiment, the reformer is a fluidized bed dry reforming reactor. In an embodiment, the reformer comprises a hydrogen membrane. In an embodiment, the membrane is coated with an erosion resistant layer. In an embodiment, the hydrogen membrane removes hydrogen contained in the synthesis gas and shifts reforming reactions toward completion.

[0009] In an embodiment, reformed gas exits the top of the reformer and is separated from spent catalyst. In an embodiment, spent catalyst is routed to a regenerator in which the catalyst is regenerated.

[0010] In an embodiment, a renewable fuel is used in the regenerator. In an embodiment, the renewable fuel comprises landfill gas, bio-digester gas, pyrolysis oils and liquid fuels, spent glycerol, biomass derived syngas, bio-ethanol (ethanol produced from biogenic sources). In an embodiment, the regenerator comprises an air pre-heater and the process utilizes full or partial displacement of natural gas or natural gas derived syngas with a bio-genic gaseous or liquid fuel in the air pre-heater. In an embodiment, the method uses full or partial displacement of natural gas or natural gas derived syngas with a bio-genic gaseous or liquid fuel in the regenerator. In an embodiment, the renewable fuel used in the regenerator comprises high molecular weight cellulose degradation products. In an embodiment, the renewable fuel used in the regenerator contains impurities including arsenic, sulfur, ammonia, chlorine, or combinations thereof.

[0011] In an embodiment, the method uses full or partial displacement of natural gas feedstock with a bio-genic gaseous feedstock in the reformer. In an embodiment, the one or more feed streams comprise natural gas and renewable feedstocks. In an embodiment, the renewable feedstocks comprise landfill gas, bio-digester gas, bio-genic feedstocks.

[0012] In an embodiment, the reformer uses no process water and requires no oxygen. In an embodiment, the method of this disclosure produces C02 emissions of less than 180 g C02/liter of dimethyl ether (DME). In an embodiment, the method of this disclosure produces equivalent greenhouse gas emissions (GHGe) of less than 0.30 kg GHGe /mile using the standard GREET model

[0013] The foregoing has outlined rather broadly the features and technical advantages of the invention in order that the detailed description of the invention that follows may be better understood. Additional features and advantages of the invention will be described hereinafter that form the subject of the claims of the invention. It should be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the conception and the specific embodiments disclosed may be readily utilized as a basis for modifying or designing other structures for carrying out the same purposes of the invention. It should also be realized by those skilled in the art that such equivalent constructions do not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0014] For a detailed description of the preferred embodiments of the invention, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings in which:

[0015] Figure 1 is a simplified block flow diagram illustrating the process for the production of DME from natural gas, according to an embodiment of this disclosure.

[0016] Figure 2 is a sketch illustrating the configuration of a reformer reactor, according to an embodiment of this disclosure.

[0017] Figure 3 is a diagram graph illustrating the ability to produce a 1 : 1 H 2 :CO syngas at elevated pressure and reduced temperature in the reforming reactor, according to an embodiment of this disclosure.

[0018] Figure 4 shows an experimental set up of dry reforming, according to an embodiment of this disclosure.

[0019] Figure 5 illustrates an overall process flow sheet for process integration, according to an embodiment of this disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0020] Herein disclosed is a method of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emission comprising introducing one or more feed streams into a reformer to generate synthesis gas; and converting synthesis gas to dimethyl ether (DME). In an embodiment, the reformer is a fluidized bed dry reforming reactor. In an embodiment, the reformer comprises a hydrogen membrane. In an embodiment, the membrane is coated with an erosion resistant layer. In an embodiment, the hydrogen membrane removes hydrogen contained in the synthesis gas and shifts reforming reactions toward completion.

[0021] In an embodiment, reformed gas exits the top of the reformer and is separated from spent catalyst. In an embodiment, spent catalyst is routed to a regenerator in which the catalyst is regenerated.

[0022] In an embodiment, a renewable fuel is used in the regenerator. In an embodiment, the renewable fuel comprises landfill gas, bio-digester gas, pyrolysis oils and liquid fuels, spent glycerol, biomass derived syngas. In an embodiment, the regenerator comprises an air pre- heater and the process utilizes full or partial displacement of natural gas or natural gas derived syngas with a bio-genic gaseous or liquid fuel in the air pre-heater. In an embodiment, the method uses full or partial displacement of natural gas or natural gas derived syngas with a biogenic gaseous or liquid fuel in the regenerator. In an embodiment, the renewable fuel used in the regenerator comprises high molecular weight cellulose degradation products. In an embodiment, the renewable fuel used in the regenerator contains impurities including arsenic, sulfur, ammonia, chlorine, or combinations thereof.

[0023] In an embodiment, the method uses full or partial displacement of natural gas feedstock with a bio-genic gaseous feedstock in the reformer. In an embodiment, the one or more feed streams comprise natural gas and renewable feedstocks. In an embodiment, the renewable feedstocks comprise landfill gas, bio-digester gas, bio-genic feedstocks.

[0024] In an embodiment, the reformer uses no process water and requires no oxygen.

[0025] Dry reforming of natural gas provides some improvement in the GHG emissions for GTL plants, at least better than previously proposed bi- and tri- reforming technologies. 100% dry reforming of natural gas, using a fluidized bed membrane reactor to make 1 : 1 H2:CO syngas, which is then used to make Dimethyl Ether (DME, as discussed in further details herein below) is able to achieve the goal of production of a low emission drop-in diesel fuel substitute with lower wheel-to-wheels GHG emissions, while using little water and no import power. In addition, DME is a useful chemical intermediate, a direct LPG substitute, an intermediate in the production of drop-in motor gasoline and a potential fuel in gas turbines and diesel generators.

[0026] The overall chemical reaction for the process of the production of Dimethyl Ether (DME) (C 2 H 6 0) from methane and carbon dioxide is: 3 CH 4 + C0 2 = 2 C 2 I¾0.

[0027] In this process, carbon dioxide is consumed and converted into a useful product DME that can be used as a transportation fuel including as a replacement for diesel. [0028] The dry reforming step uses a fluidized bed reactor with a Ni catalyst to convert methane to syngas. CH 4 + C0 2 = 2H 2 + 2CO

[0029] It is generally not easy to get to a H 2 to CO ratio of 1 in the product in practice. Catalysts often coke, deactivate, or are limited in the conversion of methane and result in a lower H 2 to CO ratio than desired.

[0030] The syngas to DME reaction can be written as: 6 H 2 + 6 CO = 2 C 2 H 6 0 (DME) + 2 C0 2

[0031] In some cases, the fluidized bed dry reforming reactor also contains a hydrogen membrane to preferentially remove hydrogen produced and force the reaction toward full conversion of the C0 2 and methane.

[0032] This dry reforming process is superior to other routes for the production of DME. It uses less natural gas than competing processes, uses no process water, and requires no oxygen plant, and has significantly lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than the competing processes for DME production.

[0033] Figure 1 shows a simplified block flow diagram for this process. Figure 1 also illustrates flows and balances for a commercial process for the production of DME from natural gas.

[0034] Dry reforming. A pressurized fluidized bed (dry) reforming reactor utilizing Pd alloy membranes, or Pd alloy membranes supported on ceramic or other metal substrates inserted into the fluidized bed for the purpose of permeating H 2 generated in the dry reforming reaction. In an embodiment, the membranes are coated with an erosion resistant layer. A hydrocarbon feed stream, containing carbon dioxide or co-fed with carbon dioxide, is fed and distributed into the base of the fluidized bed reformer, via a manifold or distributor. The reformer vessel is partially filled with a fluidizable nickel based catalyst, suitable for dry reforming operating conditions.

[0035] Reformed gas exits the top of the fluidized bed reformer, where it is separated from the catalyst. Spent catalyst is routed to a regenerator, where the catalyst is regenerated in an oxidizing environment. The regenerated catalyst is returned to the Reformer. In an embodiment, hydrogen produced in the reformer is extracted from the reformer fluidized bed, via multiple vertically oriented palladium alloy supported on porous steel tubes or ceramic substrates or other metallic substrates, essentially 100% selective to H 2 , located within the fluidized bed. The permeated H 2 is collected from the multiple membrane tubes via internal manifold(s), which route the H 2 to an external collection system. [0036] As H 2 is permeated from the fluidized bed reformer, the dry reforming equilibrium is shifted such that dry reforming reactions can proceed to completion. The H 2 permeation facilitates the high degree of dry reforming, without the use of any steam injection into the reformer, at lower reforming temperatures and higher pressures than without the H 2 membranes.

[0037] Reformer / reforming reactor / reformer reactor. In an embodiment, Figure 2 shows the configuration of the reformer reactor. The reformer operates at approximately 600-700°C at a pressure of 700 - 800 kPa. Catalyst is fluidized by the incoming methane (or other hydrocarbon) and carbon dioxide feed. The feed gas passes through a gas distributor. The catalyst-gas mixture is in a fluidized bed. Inside the fluidized bed the hydrogen membranes tubes are placed hanging from the top of the reformer. The methane and carbon dioxide are reacted over the fluidized catalyst. The reaction will cause the formation of hydrogen and carbon monoxide via the dry reforming reaction.

[0038] In an embodiment, hydrogen will permeate through the membranes and be collected as hydrogen product leaving the reactor. The methane and carbon dioxide will continue to react as some of the hydrogen permeates away producing more hydrogen and carbon monoxide.

[0039] In some embodiments, the reformer has a top section that contains a cyclone for solid gas separation. Some amount of catalyst will continue to be transported toward the top of the reactor. The gas/catalyst mixture will enter the cyclone and the solid catalyst particles will separate from the gas and fall back toward the bottom of the reactor. The gas produced leaves the top of the reformer. Catalyst also leaves via side withdrawal near the bottom of the reactor through an exit and the catalyst will then proceed to the regenerator. Regenerated catalyst enters the reformer catalyst bed as hot catalyst that supplies heat to the reformer. The catalyst will enter at approximately 900- 1000 °C. The catalyst residence time in the reformer is in the range of 0.5 - 4 minutes. The fluidized bed is preferentially operated in turbulent regime. The gas superficial velocity is in the range of 1 - 3 m/s.

[0040] Hydrogen Membranes. The addition of the hydrogen membranes to the reformer is optional but preferred. H 2 produced in the reformer is extracted from the reformer fluidized bed, via multiple vertically oriented palladium alloy supported on a porous ceramic substrate, essentially 100% selective to H 2 , located within the fluidized bed. The permeated H 2 is collected from the multiple membrane tubes via internal manifold(s), which route the H 2 to an external collection system. [0041] As H 2 is permeated from the fiuidized bed reformer (the fuel reactor), the dry reforming equilibria is shifted such that dry reforming reactions can proceed more or less to completion. The H 2 permeation facilitates a higher degree of dry reforming, without the use of any steam injection into the reformer, at lower reforming temperatures and higher pressures than without the H 2 membranes. Figure 3 is a diagram illustrating the ability to produce a 1 : 1 H 2 :CO syngas at elevated pressure and reduced temperature in the reforming reactor. Figure 4 shows an experimental set up of dry reforming.

[0042] Metallic membranes or metal coated ceramic supported membranes are hung inside the dual fluidized bed reactor, such as Pd or Pd alloy coated cylindrical structures hung inside the fiuidized bed reactor or any other suitable structures. Palladium (Pd) based membranes have high hydrogen permeability and an almost infinite selectivity to hydrogen. A thin coating of Pd or Pd alloy 2 - 50 microns thick (with the minimal thickness being preferred for permeation but slightly thicker membranes desired for long term stability of the membrane) is deposited on the cylindrical support material. Ag, Pt, Au, Rh, Ru, and Pb additives have been added to the Pd to form alloys and improve hydrogen permeability. Self-supporting tubular hydrogen membranes have been successfully scaled up and are also contemplated for use in this catalytic membrane reactor/reformer.

[0043] The permeation rate through the hydrogen membranes varies significantly. The hydrogen permeation flux rates can vary from 10 -300 NM3 H2/hr/m2 of membrane area with the preferred range of 20-80 NM3 H2/hr/m2. The permeate pressure is relatively low at sub- atmospheric pressure (as low as 1 psia or approximately 7 kPa). The proper choice of the balance between membrane surface area, hydrogen permeation, and overall reactor performance dictate the exact configuration of the reactor/reformer system.

[0044] The hydrogen product that goes to the manifold is then compressed and blended back with the reformer product gas to produce a combined syngas with a 1 : 1 hydrogen to carbon monoxide ratio. In some cases, sweep gas on the permeate side of the membrane is used to increase the flux at a higher pressure and reduce compression costs. If sweep gas is needed or desired, syngas or reformer product gas can be used as the sweep gas as well as steam.

[0045] The Nickel catalyst in the reformer with a mean particle size of approximately 200 microns and a nickel content of 2- 6 wt% on an alpha alumina support. For use in the system, the catalyst must be fluidizable, generically spherical, and must be attrition resistant during operation. Suitable nickel alumina catalyst is disclosed, for example, in international patent application number PCT/US2005/036588, which is hereby incorporated herein in its entirety for all purposes not contrary to this disclosure and suitable nickel catalyst is disclosed, for example, in U.S. Patent 7,915,196 hereby incorporated herein in its entirety for all purposes not contrary to this disclosure.

[0046] Regenerator. Catalyst from the reformer is sent to the regenerator. The catalyst in the reformer can become deactivated by contaminants or by carbon deposited on the catalyst during the dry reforming reaction. Carbon formation during dry reforming reaction is one of the common problems with dry reforming process that uses a fixed bed. One of the advantages of using a fluidized bed reactor is that the catalyst can be regenerated frequently in air.

[0047] In an embodiment, the regenerator operates at approximately 700 - 1000 °C and catalyst is fluidized by air supplied by an air blower or other means at the bottom of the regenerator. Any carbon on the catalyst is bumed off in the regenerator. In one embodiment, the regenerator is a fast fluidized bed where the air and catalyst are mixed at the bottom of the regenerator and the catalyst is conveyed to the top of the regenerator where the catalyst and flue gas are separated out. The superficial gas velocity in the regenerator dense bed is maintained at 1-3 m/s. The hot catalyst then recirculates to the entry nozzle on the reformer. In some embodiments, there is very little or no excess oxygen at the top of the regenerator.

[0048] In cases wherein carbon on the catalyst is not sufficient to keep the regenerator at the high temperature needed, supplemental fuel can be bumed in the regenerator to heat the regenerator to operating temperature. In one embodiment, a mixer/burner is placed in the regenerator or adjacent to the regenerator vessel. Fuel and air are mixed and bumed in the burner with the combustion product gases flowing into the regenerator and supplying any needed heat to the system. In an embodiment, methane is used as the supplemental fuel to the regenerator. In other embodiments, other fuels to the regenerator are used, such as renewable fuels including landfill gas, bio-ethanol, bio-digester gas, pyrolysis oils and liquid fuels, spent glycerol, biomass derived syngas. Alternatively, biomass is used in a biomass boiler where the hot flue gas from the boiler is used to heat the regenerator to operating temperature.

[0049] DME Production from Syngas. The hydrogen from the manifold is compressed and blended with the reformer product gas to produce a 1 : 1 H2/CO ratio syngas. The blended syngas is compressed to approximately 5500 kPa. The blended syngas is reacted to produce primarily a Dimethyl Ether product by this reaction: 6 H 2 + 6 CO = 2 C 2 H 6 0 (DME) + 2 C0 2

[0050] In various embodiments, a single step is used to convert syngas to DME. There are multiple-step reactions that can also obtain DME as a product including a first step where syngas is converted to methanol and then methanol is dehydrated to DME. For one step synthesis, a bi-functional catalyst is used that does methanol synthesis and dehydration. There are a number of catalysts that can produce DME, such as mixtures of methanol catalyst (CuO/ZnO/A1203) with methanol dehydration catalysts (gamma-alumina). Other bifunctional catalysts such as Ni/Ce-Zr02/A1203, CuO-ZnO-A1203 (CZA) over Clinoptilolite, CZA over various zeolites including ferrierite, Zr02, ZSM-5, NaY or HY, are also used.

[0051] In an embodiment, slurry reactors and fixed bed reactors are used to produce DME from syngas. In an embodiment, a multi-tubular fixed bed reactor is used to produce DME from syngas to take advantage of the exothermic DME reaction and to better control reactor temperature and avoid hot spots.

[0052] In an embodiment, the conversion reactor has individual tubes of 20 - 30 mm in diameter filled with catalyst pellets. Syngas passes through the tubes and react to produce DME. In some embodiments, the reactor tubes are placed inside a shell. In some cases, inside the shell and around the tubes, water is circulated to regulate reactor temperature. Through the heat release in the reactor tubes, steam is generated in the shell.

[0053] In further embodiments, DME product is recovered from the outlet of the multi-tubular reactor and separated as product. C0 2 byproduct, produced in the DME synthesis loop, is separated for recycle to the dry reformer, via conventional distillation. The additional CO2 required to satisfy the dry reforming stoichiometry is recovered from the pressurized regenerator flue gas, using an amine unit with a solvent such as methyldiethanolamine (MDEA). The CO2 is then recycled as feed to the dry reforming reactor.

[0054] Process integration. In an embodiment as shown in Figure 5, the process as described herein is integrated for commercial application. The components in Figure 5 are explained in Table 1. Other altemative and equivalent arrangements are also possible, which are considered to be within the scope of this disclosure.

Table 1

10 Fluidizing nitrogen

12 Hydrogen

14 Natural gas feedstock

16 External fluegas

18 Natural gas knockout drum

20 Hydrodesulfurizer feed/effluent exchanger Hydrodesulfurizer feed preheater

Hydrodesulfurizer vessel

C02 plus loop purge

Natural gas fuel

Natural gas plus C02 feed

Reformer

Recycle gas

Hydrogen

Hydrogen compressor

Reactor effluent

Recycle compressor

Synthesis gas knockout drum

Process condensate

Air compressor

Synthesis gas compressor

Synthesis gas

Converter (DME Reactor)

Converter Steam Drum

Circulator

Hydrogen permeate

Fuelgas

Loop Purge Recycle

Dimethyl ether (DME)

DME Column

C02 Column

C02 Compressor

Expander

Methanol Column

Methanol

Fusel oil

Wastewater

Amine Regenerator 92 Amine Pump

94 C02 Absorber

96 Fluegas Compressor

Table 2

[0055] Advantages. The process as described herein has many advantages over existing processes for the production of DME. This process has (1) lower natural gas consumption per liter of DME produced, (2) no process water consumption, (3) no oxygen consumption, and (4) lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per liter of DME produced. In an embodiment, the method of this disclosure produces C02 emissions of less than 180 g C02/liter of dimethyl ether (DME). In an embodiment, the method of this disclosure produces equivalent greenhouse gas emissions (GHGe) of less than 0.30 kg GHGe /mile. The details of these advantages are shown in Table 2 as this process is compared with tri-reforming schemes.

[0056] This process also has the flexibility to achieve additional GHG emission reductions, as may be required by mandated new emission standards or as incentivized by new policy (e.g. carbon cap and trade, etc). This flexibility is provided by:

Ability to utilize a renewable fuel in the catalyst regenerator. These renewable fuels include landfill gas, bio-digester gas, pyrolysis oils and liquid fuels, spent glycerol, biomass derived syngas, etc. Ability to co-feed natural gas and renewable feedstocks to the reformer, to generate syngas for downstream DME synthesis. These co-feeds include landfill gas, bio-digester gas or other relatively clean bio-genic feedstocks.

[0057] Hence, the process as discussed herein provides a technology pathway able to replace, over time, some of the existing oil refining and chemicals production infrastructure, and achieve reduced wheel-to-wheels GHG emissions and water usage. For example, this method may be deployed initially using 100% fossil based feedstock and fuel, but has the flexibility to transition to 0-100% renewable fuel and feedstock in the future, without changes to the core process. In this regard, this process is part of the solution to meeting GHG emission reduction targets, particularly for jet and diesel fuel requirements for heavy vehicles and long haul aircraft as well as for several important industrial chemicals.

[0058] In an embodiment, stricter GHG emission targets are complied with and displacement of some natural gas fuel or feedstock are achieved, as lower cost bio-genic materials are readily available, by full or partial displacement of natural gas, in a progressive manner. The envisaged steps comprise:

[0059] (1) Full or partial displacement of natural gas or natural gas derived syngas with a bio-genic gaseous or liquid fuel in the directly fired regenerator air pre-heater.

[0060] (2) Full or partial displacement of natural gas or natural gas derived syngas with a bio-genic gaseous or liquid fuel in the Regenerator fluidized bed.

[0061] (3) Full or partial displacement of natural gas feedstock with a bio-genic gaseous feedstock in the dry reformer.

[0062] This progression allows for the maximum utilization of currently abundant, cheap and clean natural gas resources, and ensures that the impact of potential impurities in the bio-genic fuels and feedstocks is managed successfully. Potential impurities in some of the bio-genic fuels and feedstocks include sulfur, alkalis, chlorides, other ash constituents, heavy metals in addition to high molecular weight byproducts from cellulose degradation. In various embodiments, bio-genic fuels and feedstocks with higher levels of specific impurities are utilized more successfully in the oxidizing environment in the regenerator air preheater or in the regenerator fluidized bed. In various embodiments, bio-genic materials, with lower levels of specific impurities, are suitable for use as a feedstock in the dry reformer.

[0063] In an embodiment, high molecular weight cellulose degradation products, as would be expected in pyrolysis oils generated from fast pyrolysis of biomass feedstocks, is readily introduced into the regenerator fluidized bed, where they are combusted to produce CO2 instead of resulting in carbon laydown on the catalyst (if they are introduced directly into the dry reformer, which can adversely impact the catalyst activity, if the catalyst is not properly regenerated).

[0064] Impurities such as arsenic (as As or AsH3) is a potential poison for reforming catalysts and is volatile and reactive in high temperature reducing environments and is likely to absorb on catalyst surfaces in the dry reformer. The oxidized forms of arsenic are less problematic, if these impurities are introduced directly into the regenerator.

[0065] Sulfur is a poison for the Palladium membrane in the dry reformer (although Pd alloys in some cases are made with a certain level of sulfur tolerance). In various embodiments, fuels with significant residual sulfur content is routed to the regenerator, where stoichiometric removal of the sulfur, as SO 2 in the flue gas, is expected. This is also beneficial with regards to overall nickel catalyst activity.

[0066] Other impurities such as ammonia and chlorine may also adversely effect the Pd membrane in the dry reformer. In embodiments, fuels high in nitrogen or in chlorine, is routed to the regenerator. This is also beneficial with regards to nickel catalyst activity maintenance.

[0067] As stated earlier, conventional GTL technologies produce wheel-to-wheel GHG emissions that are often worse than conventional refined diesel pathways. Some preliminary GREET analysis indicates the following Wheel-to-wheel GHG emissions:

Conventional ULSD: 0.345 kg GHG e /mile traveled.

Conventional GTL (DME): 0.357 kg GHG e /mile

Dry Reforming Nat Gas (DME): 0.333 kg GHG e /mile

Dry Reforming (DME) w/ bio-genic fuel source: 0.237 kg GHG e /mile

DR (DME) w/ bio-genic fuel + 50% feedstock: 0.177 kg GHG e /mile

[0068] While preferred embodiments of the invention have been shown and described, modifications thereof can be made by one skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and teachings of the invention. The embodiments described herein are exemplary only, and are not intended to be limiting. Many variations and modifications of the invention disclosed herein are possible and are within the scope of the invention. Where numerical ranges or limitations are expressly stated, such express ranges or limitations should be understood to include iterative ranges or limitations of like magnitude falling within the expressly stated ranges or limitations (e.g. , from about 1 to about 10 includes, 2, 3, 4, etc.; greater than 0.10 includes 0.11, 0.12, 0.13, and so forth). Use of the term "optionally" with respect to any element of a claim is intended to mean that the subject element is required, or alternatively, is not required. Both alternatives are intended to be within the scope of the claim. Use of broader terms such as comprises, includes, having, etc. should be understood to provide support for narrower terms such as consisting of, consisting essentially of, comprised substantially of, and the like.

[0069] Accordingly, the scope of protection is not limited by the description set out above but is only limited by the claims which follow, that scope including all equivalents of the subject matter of the claims. Each and every claim is incorporated into the specification as an embodiment of the present invention. Thus, the claims are a further description and are an addition to the preferred embodiments of the present invention. The disclosures of all patents, patent applications, and publications cited herein are hereby incorporated by reference, to the extent they provide exemplary, procedural or other details supplementary to those set forth herein.