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Based on fundamental understanding and carefully optimized production routes Topsoe R&D work has resulted in marketing of a superior catalyst for synthesis of methanol covering a wide range of gas compositions. Today research is directed towards development of even more active and stable synthesis catalysts resulting in higher methanol production rates.

Research of the methanol synthesis technology involves the following topics:

Process studies

Feasibility studies of alternative process layouts. New layouts have to be optimized and parameters such as capital expenditures, energy consumption and plant efficiency are compared with our best available technology.

Novel reactor design

Topsoe has investigated several new methanol reactor types. Occasionally, this calls for new reactor models or optimization of the reactor design with respect to catalyst performance, mechanical design and reactor cost.

Heat transfer studies

Due to a high heat of reaction in the methanol synthesis, exact knowledge of the heat transfer is important. to gain this knowledge Topsoe models heat transfer phenomena and performs experimental investigation of heat transfer in tubular reactors.

Fluid dynamics 

In the Topsoe condensing methanol process, knowledge and control of the three-phase system “synthesis gas/liquid methanol/catalyst” are important, and Topsoe performs modeling, simulations, and experimental investigations of this system.

Technology demonstrations

New methanol reactor and process concepts often require demonstrations in a scale relevant for full-size units. We are involved in the design and operation of such units to demonstrate Topsoe methanol technology.