Continuous capital investments have been made by CRI Catalyst in the development of IH² technology. Shell Technology Centre Bangalore (STCB) is home to several bench-scale operating units including high throughput testing facilities, as well as catalyst preparation equipment focused on advancing the technology. A second pilot scale facility has recently begun operation at STCB.
A dedicated process development program aimed to optimize process conditions has been funded by CRI since 2010. Studies were conducted at the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) in Chicago, IL US and at STCB with the hydropyrolysis and hydroconversion reactors of the IH² process. The two reactors have different process targets in the conversion of organic material. In the hydropyrolysis reactor the feedstock solids are interacting with the gases and the hydropyrolysis catalyst to convert the biomass into organic fragments with low oxygen content. In the hydroconversion reactor the remaining small amount of impurities are removed and the final properties of the so produced hydrocarbons is achieved.
The bench-scale operating units and the high throughput testing facilitiesare used for testing a wide palette of feedstocks, ranging from forestry, agricultural and aquacultural residues to cellulosic fractions of municipal waste, converting them to gasoline, kerosene and diesel. For each new generation of catalyst, the first phase of optimization is also carried out in these units.
The GTI pilot plant has operated in excess of 9,000 hours on stream, and validated all basic design principles. Key aspects of the IH² technology, including the feedstock-handling and supply system, the first- and second-stage reactors, and the separation and discharge systems for the residual char have been successfully demonstrated. Thousands of litres of liquid hydrocarbon fuel have also been produced during these experiments. A second pilot plant has begun operation at STCB in early 2018.
The IH² Demonstration facility provides our largest scale possibility for process optimization, including the validation of feedstocks and the product quality and yield structure. It also aids the finetuning of the process models and provides training for operators.
To date, more than 30 process and catalyst patents have resulted from the efforts at STCB and collaboration with GTI.