High performance high throughput catalysts


Uncoated catalyst support structure with 3D internal geometry

Technology abstract

The technology offered is a 3D printed catalyst suitable for high flow rates at high temperatures. It can be used for chemical processes requiring efficient conversion from one or several chemical compound(s) into another one. The product can be supplemented with design, testing and project management services and further development for specific applications.
The product and associated services are offered by three entities (a start-up and two R&D institutes) located in Austria and France.

Technology Description

Custom designed monolithic catalysts with an internal 3D structure are offered. Depending on the application area, several support structures, washcoat layers and active phases can be chosen. The parameter the catalyst should be optimised for, such as pressure drop, flow velocity, temperature distribution, can be chosen freely. It is even possible to have a different active phase at different locations in the catalyst, such that different parts of the catalyst are tuned to different reactions in case of complex multistep reaction processes.
Apart from designing and producing catalysts, extensive test opportunities are available as well, ranging from performance testing to mechanical testing and thermal testing to elemental analysis of the catalyst. If required, qualified project manager engineers can support or lead product development in close cooperation with the customer and other partners. The most modern mechanical equipment and comprehensive expertise of the technology provider team facilitate a constructive transfer of technology to their clients as well as assistance in all matters related to planning, implementation and post-processing of demanding research and development projects.

Innovations & Advantages

Typical requirements for catalysts are that the reaction velocity is high, that catalysts are stable over extended periods of time and temperature and that the pressure drop over the catalyst is minimal. Particulate catalysts and monolithic catalysts have their pros and cons.
Most catalyst used in industry are of the particulate type. Although they provide a high surface area, there are several disadvantages:
·       High pressure drop over the catalyst bed
·       Most times only the outer part of the pellet is active in the conversion
·       Danger of attrition due to abrasion
·       Filling a bed to maximum packing density is a challenging task
·       Natural ordering effect near the wall leads to preferred flow paths
An alternative are monolithic catalysts, such as those used in cars. Normally monoliths are produced by extrusion of a ceramic paste through a die, after which the resulting shape is sintered. Although it overcomes many of the above mentioned disadvantages, it comes at the price of a low catalytic surface area.
The offered solution is a monolithic catalyst with a 3D-printed internal structure. In this way the traditional advantage of monoliths over particulate catalysts is kept, while having a much higher catalytic surface area than normally present in straight channelled monolithic catalysts. The 3D structure can be designed to meet the requirements of the customer and offers much more design freedom and corresponding optimisation potential.
The ceramics that can be printed include materials that are capable of withstanding high temperatures (>1600 °C). A washcoat applied to the support structure further increases the available catalytic surface area.

Further Information

A project for detailed performance mapping is currently being prepared. This information will be updated when information becomes available.

Current and Potential Domains of Application

  • Monopropellant thrusters
  • Gas generators
  • Gas treatment
  • Any process requiring catalysts or catalysis