Licensed Processes

Methanol

Select each section header below to expand, or click here to expand/collapse all sections
Introduction

JM Davy is one of the world’s leading methanol technology providers, with over half of the world’s licensed methanol plants based on JM technology.

Our flowsheet for producing methanol is based on three key steps:

Reforming – converting natural gas to synthesis gas (syngas – CO, CO2 & H2)

Synthesis – converting syngas to methanol (CH3OH)

Distillation – product purification

We have developed a suite of technology options to deliver methanol processes that are optimised to best serve our clients’ needs.

This Davy methanol process uses a steam methane reformer (SMR) to generate syngas. A methanol synthesis step follows, employing one of our methanol converters.

JM Davy have designed plants based on this process with capacities from 300t/d up to 5,000t/d.

Process Flowsheet

Roll over the orange squares to see more information

steam methane reforming corner methanol synthesis distillation steam methane reforming ro methanol synthesis ro
Tap diagram to view larger
Key Reactions

Steam reforming reactions generate syngas:

Methanol - steam methane - big equation1

Methanol - steam methane - big equation2

Two exothermic reactions then synthesise methanol:

Methanol - steam methane - big equation3

ethanol - steam methane - big equation4

Process Description

JM Davy’s methanol process is based upon a steam methane reformer followed by a methanol synthesis loop.

Process feedstock

The process feedstock is natural gas, which is composed mainly of methane (CH4), but also contains higher hydrocarbons and sulphur impurities.

Feedstock pre-treatment

Firstly, the feed gas is desulphurised and saturated with steam. A pre-reforming step follows, in which heavier hydrocarbons break down into lighter components by reaction with the added steam.

This process may be summarised as follows:

Methanol - steam methane - small equation1

Steam reforming

The pre-reformed natural gas and steam proceed to the SMR, passing downwards through vertical, catalyst-filled tubes and reacting to form a mixture containing syngas, residual methane and water in the form of steam.

This process may be summarised as follows:

Methanol - steam methane - small equation2

Exiting the SMR, the syngas stream further cools in a series of heat exchangers to recover heat and remove water by condensation, before proceeding to methanol synthesis.

 

Methanol synthesis

The syngas is cooled and compressed before passing to the methanol synthesis step, in which it reacts over a fixed catalyst bed to form methanol

This process may be summarised as follows:

Methanol - steam methane - small equation3

As the conversion reaction is limited by equilibrium per pass through the reactor, a simple loop arrangement recirculates the unreacted syngas back to the methanol converter.

Distillation

The crude methanol is distilled to the required purity.

This process recovers light by-products which can be used as fuel in the reformer. Ethanol and butanol (together known as fusel oil) and water are also removed.

Core Technologies & Related Processes

Explore the technologies that underpin our methanol production processes:

The Davy gas-to-liquids (GTL) process also uses syngas feedstock. Click the panel to explore in more detail:

We offer our methanol license holders a fixed-bed process for dimethyl ether (DME)  production:

JM Davy’s methanol process based on combined reforming uses a steam methane reformer (SMR) followed in series by an auto-thermal reformer (ATR) to generate syngas. A methanol synthesis step follows, employing one of our methanol converters.

Process Flowsheet

Roll over the orange squares to see more information

steam methane reforming orange steam methane reforming ro auto-thermal reforming orange1 auto-thermal reforming orange2 auto-thermal reforming ro methanol synthesis orange methanol synthesis ro distillation orange
Tap diagram to view larger
Key Reactions

Steam reforming reactions generate syngas:

Methanol - comb reforming - big equation1

Methanol - comb reforming - big equation2

The ATR combusts methane to generate heat for the reforming reactions:

Methanol - comb reforming - big equation3

Two exothermic reactions then synthesise methanol:

Methanol - comb reforming - big equation4

Methanol - comb reforming - big equation5

Process Description

JM Davy’s methanol process based on combined reforming employs two different reforming technologies in series, followed by a methanol synthesis loop.

Process feedstock

The process feedstock is natural gas, which is composed mainly of methane (CH4), but also contains higher hydrocarbons and sulphur impurities.

Steam reforming

Firstly, the feed gas is desulphurised and saturated with steam.

The gas and steam then proceed to the SMR, passing downwards through vertical, catalyst-filled tubes and reacting to form a mixture containing syngas, residual methane and water in the form of steam.

This process may be summarised as follows:

Methanol -comb reforming - small equation1

Auto-thermal reforming

Entering the top of the ATR, the feed gas mixes with O2, causing some of the CH4 and H2 present to combust. This combustion provides the heat required for the steam methane reactions that take place over a fixed catalyst bed at the base of the vessel.

This process may be summarised as follows:

ATR - small equation1-sm

Methanol - comb reforming - small equation3

The resulting syngas, which has very low methane content, exits the ATR. The syngas stream further cools in a series of heat exchangers to recover heat and remove water by condensation, before proceeding to methanol synthesis.

Methanol synthesis

The syngas is cooled and compressed before passing to the methanol synthesis step, in which it reacts over a fixed catalyst bed to form methanol.

This process may be summarised as follows:

Methanol - comb reforming - small equation4

As the conversion reaction is limited by equilibrium per pass through the reactor, a simple loop arrangement recirculates the unreacted syngas back to the methanol converter.

Distillation

The crude methanol is distilled to the required purity.

This process recovers light by-products which can be used as fuel in the reformer. Ethanol and butanol (together known as fusel oil) and water are also removed.

Core Technologies & Related Processes

Explore the technologies that underpin our methanol production processes:

The Davy gas-to-liquids (GTL) process also uses syngas feedstock. Click the panel to explore in more detail:

We offer our methanol license holders a fixed-bed process for dimethyl ether (DME) production:

This Davy methanol process uses a gas-heated reformer (GHR) and an auto-thermal reformer (ATR) in combination to produce syngas. A methanol synthesis step follows, employing one of our methanol converters.

Process Flowsheet

Roll over the orange squares to see more information

ghr ora ghr ro atr ora atr ora2 atr ro methanol ora methanol ro distillation ora
Tap diagram to view larger
Key Reactions

Steam reforming reactions generate syngas:

Methanol - comb reforming - big equation1

Methanol - comb reforming - big equation2

The ATR combusts methane to generate heat for the reforming reactions:

Methanol - comb reforming - big equation3

Two exothermic reactions then synthesise methanol:

Methanol - comb reforming - big equation4

Methanol - comb reforming - big equation5

Process Description

This process employs two-stage reforming (GHRATR) to produce syngas, which then feeds to methanol synthesis.

Process feedstock

The process feedstock is natural gas, which is composed mainly of methane (CH4), but also contains higher hydrocarbons and sulphur impurities.

Gas-Heated Reforming (GHR)

Firstly, the feed gas is desulphurised and saturated with steam. Then, after pre-heating, the gas and steam enters the GHR.

Passing downwards through vertical, catalyst-filled tubes, a portion of the feedstock reacts to form a mixture containing syngas, residual methane and water in the form of steam.

This process may be summarised as follows:

Methanol -comb reforming - small equation1

The heat required for these endothermic reactions is provided by syngas from the ATR which flows counter-currently on the shell side of the reactor.

The partially-reformed gases from the GHR then pass to the ATR.

Auto-thermal reforming

Entering the top of the ATR, the feed gas mixes with O2, causing some of the CH4 and H2 present to combust. This combustion provides the heat required for the steam methane reactions that take place over a fixed catalyst bed at the base of the vessel.

This process may be summarised as follows:

ATR - small equation1-sm

Methanol - comb reforming - small equation3

The resulting syngas, which has very low methane content, exits the ATR and returns to the GHR, passing up through the vessel and transferring heat to the reaction tubes. In this way, the product syngas is cooled while providing heat to the endothermic reforming reactions in the GHR.

Exiting the GHR, the syngas stream further cools in a series of heat exchangers to recover heat and remove water by condensation, before proceeding to methanol synthesis.

Methanol synthesis

The syngas is cooled and compressed before passing to the methanol synthesis step, in which it reacts over a fixed catalyst bed to form methanol.

This process may be summarised as follows:

Methanol - comb reforming - small equation4

As the conversion reaction is limited by equilibrium per pass through the reactor, a simple loop arrangement recirculates the unreacted syngas back to the methanol converter.

Distillation

The crude methanol is distilled to the required purity.

This process recovers light by-products which can be used as fuel in the reformer. Ethanol and butanol (together known as fusel oil) and water are also removed.

Core Technologies & Related Processes

Explore the technologies that underpin our methanol production processes:

The Davy gas-to-liquids (GTL) process also uses syngas feedstock. Click the panel to explore in more detail:

We offer our methanol license holders a fixed-bed process for dimethyl ether (DME) production.


Core Technologies

Explore the technologies that underpin our methanol production processes:


Related Processes

The Davy gas-to-liquids (GTL) process also uses syngas feedstock. Click the panel to explore in more detail:

We offer our methanol license holders a fixed-bed process for dimethyl ether (DME)  production: