Demonstration and Characterization of Ni/Mg/K/AD90 Used for Pilot-Scale Conditioning of Biomass-Derived Syngas

Matthew M. Yung, Kimberly A. Magrini-Bair, Yves O. Parent, Daniel L. Carpenter, Calvin J. Feik, Katherine R. Gaston, Marc D. Pomeroy, Steven D. Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus Citations


A fluidizable, Ni/Mg/K/AD90(90% α-Al2O3) catalyst was evaluated in a pilot-scale study with oakderived syngas for tar and methane reforming at 900 °C. The catalyst was operated in a semi-batch mode for ten individual reaction cycles, each separated by a regeneration protocol consisting of steaming followed by H2 reduction. During the experiment, subsequent reaction cycles showed a decrease in activity as indicated by decreased initial methane conversion. During each reaction cycle, H2S poisoning was the dominant deactivation mechanism, while coking was deemed to be minor in comparison.Catalyst characterization by XRD and TPR suggest that the loss of activity for subsequent reaction cycles coincides with the formation of a NiAl2O4 species that is not fully reduced under process conditions, which in turn results in a decreased number of potential metallic nickel (Ni0) sites available for hydrocarbon steam reforming. An increase in nickel crystallite size with time-on-stream was alsoobserved using XRD, indicating that sintering may also play a role in loss of catalyst activity, although this is not considered the primary deactivation mechanism because activity loss was observed even when nickel crystallite sizes remained nearly constant.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)242-249
Number of pages8
JournalCatalysis Letters
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2010

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-510-47409


  • Biomass gasification
  • Catalytic syngas conditioning
  • Nickel aluminate (NiAlO)
  • Nickel reforming catalyst
  • Tar reforming


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