Catalytic converters for syngas engines

Syngas (short for ‘synthesis gas’) is a mixture of gases produced by the gasification of a carbon-containing feedstock. Unlike LPG or CNG therefore, it is a manufactured gas. The feedstock may come from fossil sources, renewable sources or waste. The typical components of syngas are:

Hydrogen H2 20-40%
Carbon monoxide CO 35-40%
Carbon dioxide CO2 25-35%
Methane CH4 0-15%
Nitrogen N2 2-5%

There is a variety of alternative names for syngas which has been produced from specific sources e.g. ‘woodgas’ is made from wood, whilst ‘coal gas’ and ‘producer gas’ are made from coal and coke. Sometimes waste gases from industrial processes can be converted into syngas which gives the dual benefit of getting rid of them and also providing energy.

Engines running on syngas can have oxidation catalytic converters fitted, the purpose of which is primarily to oxidise carbon monoxide. Prior to specifying a catalytic converter however it is necessary to identify and quantify any toxins which will damage the catalytic converter, for example sulphur, lead and siloxanes. It is also essential to quantify any reduction in methane emissions required since the catalytic oxidation of methane requires special catalytic coatings.