Book chapter, 2019
The methanation reaction was discovered by Sabatier and Senderens in 1902. In the presence of a nickel catalyst, hydrogen and carbon oxide react at elevated temperatures to produce methane and water. The reaction is strongly exothermic and rapidly approaches equilibrium, which is the most determining aspect regarding the layout of methanation processes. The main challenge for the methanation reactor is to handle the massive heat release from the reaction, putting high demands on either the temperature resistance of the catalyst or the heat transfer properties of the reactor or both. This translates into the principle characterization of adiabatic, isothermal, or polytropic systems. Over the last century a multitude of processes were developed and this chapter does not claim to be exhaustive and focuses instead on the principles applied.
Polytropic methanation process