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Linde Inaugurates Pilot Reformer at Munich

16.10.2015 -

German gases and engineering group Linde has inaugurated its new Linde Pilot Reformer research facility at Pullach, near Munich. The pilot reformer will be used to refine steam reforming technology for production of synthesis gas – hydrogen (H2) and carbon monoxide (CO) – produced from carbon feedstock in the form of natural gas, liquid petroleum gas (LPG), naphtha or carbon dioxide (CO2).

Linde intends to use this pilot facility to test and optimize many different approaches to reforming. “The insights we gain will help us further improve reforming processes and concepts,” said executive board member Christian Bruch.

Tests in the pilot reformer are currently focused on dry reforming, a process developed by Linde in a pilot project funded to the tune of nearly €1 billion by the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Cooperation partners in the project were chemical giant BASF and catalyst developer hte as well as Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the German chemical society DECHEMA as a materials supplier.

Production of synthesis gas through dry reforming of natural gas means that CO2 can be used on an industrial scale as an economical feedstock, Linde said, adding that the process is also significantly more energy efficient than the conventional method of reforming. DME produced through dry reforming, for example is said to offer an improved energy balance and lower CO2 emissions.

The dry reforming process also is claimed to offer cost efficiencies relative to partial oxidation – the conventional method used up to now to produce CO-rich synthesis gases. According to the German group, these would be of particular interest for small and medium-sized plants.

If the dry reforming pilot trials prove successful, Linde plans to commercialize the process when the funded project comes to an end in 2017 and build a reference plant for an unnamed customer.

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