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Technical Paper

Simulation of One-pass Dimethylether Production from Natural Gas for Potential Use in a NG/DME Dual-fuel CI Engine

A model process to produce dimethylether (DME) from natural gas (NG) was simulated in a one-pass mode (no material recycle), assuming steady-state and chemical and physical equilibrium. NG conversion to synthesis gas (syngas) via steam reforming resulted in stoichiometric numbers of 2.97 along with vapor mole fraction extremes for carbon dioxide, methane, and water. These concentrations formed an eight-trial simulation grid of syngas compositions. Simulation of DME production was performed in a dual reactor configuration with methanol formation as the intermediate compound. Solutions resulting from the subsequent adiabatic dehydration of the methanol-rich phase showed a consistent DME composition (88%). The resulting solutions and unreacted syngas streams from simulation were examined for applicability to a dual-fuel NG/DME CI engine.
Technical Paper

On-Site DME Generation from Methanol for Pilot Injection in CI Engines

Dual fuel (CI) engines provide an excellent means of maintaining high thermal efficiency and power while reducing emissions, particularly in situations where the primary fuel does not exhibit good auto-ignition characteristics. This is especially true of diesel engines operating on natural gas; usually in stationary applications such as distributed power generation. However, because two fuels are needed, the reliability of the engine is compromised. Therefore, this paper describes the first phase of a project that is to eventually manufacture dimethyl ether (DME) from natural gas and supply it to the pilot injector of a dual fuel engine. A chemical pilot plant has been built and operated, demonstrating an intermediate step in the production of DME from natural gas. DME is manufactured from methanol for pilot injection into a dual fuel engine operating with natural gas as the main fuel.