Tri-reforming of methane: A novel concept for catalytic production of industrially useful synthesis gas with desired H2/CO ratios

Chunshan Song, Wei Pan

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394 Scopus citations


A novel process concept called tri-reforming of methane has been proposed in our laboratory using CO2 in the flue gases from fossil fuel-based power plants without CO2 separation [C. Song, Chemical Innovation 31 (2001) 21-26]. The proposed tri-reforming process is a synergetic combination of CO2 reforming, steam reforming, and partial oxidation of methane in a single reactor for effective production of industrially useful synthesis gas (syngas). Both experimental testing and computational analysis show that tri-reforming can not only produce synthesis gas (CO + H2) with desired H2/CO ratios (1.5-2.0), but also could eliminate carbon formation which is usually a serious problem in the CO2 reforming of methane. These two advantages have been demonstrated by tri-reforming of CH 4 in a fixed-bed flow reactor at 850°C with supported nickel catalysts. Over 95% CH4 conversion and about 80% CO2 conversion can be achieved in tri-reforming over Ni catalysts supported on an oxide substrate. The type and nature of catalysts have a significant impact on CO2 conversion in the presence of H2O and O2 in tri-reforming in the temperature range of 700-850°C. Among all the catalysts tested for tri-reforming, their ability to enhance the conversion of CO2 follows the order of Ni/MgO > Ni/MgO/CeZrO > Ni/CeO 2 ≈ Ni/ZrO2 ≈ Ni/Al2O3 > Ni/CeZrO. The higher CO2 conversion over Ni/MgO and Ni/MgO/CeZrO in tri-reforming may be related to the interaction of CO2 with MgO and more interface between Ni and MgO resulting from the formation of NiO/MgO solid solution. Results of catalytic performance tests over Ni/MgO/CeZrO catalysts at 850°C and 1 atm with different feed compositions confirm the predicted equilibrium conversions based on the thermodynamic analysis for tri-reforming of methane. Kinetics of tri-reforming were also examined. The reaction orders with respect to partial pressures of CO2 and H2O are different over Ni/MgO, Ni/MgO/CeZrO, and Ni/Al2O3 catalysts for tri-reforming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-484
Number of pages22
JournalCatalysis Today
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 14 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry


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