The Science Behind Catalyst Performance Testing

Reactor performance testing is one of many analytical tools used to evaluate a catalyst. EmeraChem also uses sophisticated laboratory devices to examine the physical and chemical properties of a catalyst. This is particularly helpful for forensic analysis to reveal root causes for catalyst degradation, such as contamination and over temperature operation.

EmeraChem’s Fleet of Catalyst Test Reactors

A catalyst manufacturer uses catalyst test reactors for many uses, such as the following: developing new products and comparing the effects of substrates, coatings, and precious metals, on performance characterizing the performance of a catalyst as a function of operating variables such as flow rate, temperature, hydrocarbon type, air-to-fuel ratio, inlet concentration of CO or VOCs, etc. evaluating changes to a catalyst that has been in service and possibly contaminated or overheated measuring catalyst performance before and after chemical washing and regeneration and quantifying the improvement in catalyst performance EmeraChem operates a number of catalyst test reactors for different functions. Large pilot-scale reactors provide reliable data for full size elements in full-scale applications. Bench-scale reactors are ideal for revealing trends and for developing new products. For each reactor, an elaborate continuous emission monitoring system analyzes the gas composition and catalyst performance. All of EmeraChem’s reactors have the capability to fully and independently vary flow rate, temperature, and gas composition to reproduce real-world conditions.

EmeraChem’s Newest Catalyst Test Reactor

In 2013 EmeraChem commissioned another pilot-scale catalyst test reactor. This is a fully-automated, PLC-controlled reactor system. Like our other reactors it is equipped with a complete continuous emission monitoring system (CEMS) with data acquisition, trending and reporting.

Full-Size Elements of Every Shape and Size

Like our other large pilot-scale reactors, the new pilot-scale reactor accepts full-size catalyst elements of all shapes and sizes – round, rectangle, octagon, with saddles, etc. No need cut and remove a “core” sample from the catalyst element for testing – this reactor performs a non-destructive test of the full-size element.

Real-World Conditions, Real-Word Performance Data

EmeraChem’s system is superior to some competitors’ test reactors because the EmeraChem system actually reproduces real world conditions to measure how your catalyst element will perform in your engine. In EmeraChem’s test reactor the exhaust gas composition, flow rate and temperature are independently dialed in to reproduce any engine from a rich or learn burn reciprocating engine, to a combustion turbine, to a fired industrial boiler. Concentrations of NOx, CO, VOCs, total hydrocarbons, water vapor, SO2 and oxygen are representative of actual engines. Three-way (NSCR) catalysts are tested under rich air-to-fuel ratio conditions. The EmeraChem reactor system measures and records catalyst performance on NOx, CO and VOC over a range of air-to-fuel ratios, a range of operating temperatures, and a range of flow rates – just like real rich burn engine operation. That’s real world performance data. Oxidation catalysts are tested under lean air-to-fuel ratio conditions. Measurements are made and recorded for the oxidation of CO and VOCs, and the oxidation of NO to NO2 and SO2 to SO3 over a range of temperatures and flow rates – just like the operating conditions of real lean burn recips and combustion turbines. EmeraChem uses EPA Test Methods, just like sampling crews use to measure your stack emissions.