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Institute for Commercialization

Char Supported Catalyst for Syngas Cleanup and Conditioning

Reference Number: K 10-11

Inventors: Yuan, Wenqiao; Wang, Duo

Owner: Kansas State University Research Foundation


Invention Summary

Synthetic fuel production from biomass (organic waste or co-products) has become an increasingly popular approach as petroleum prices and environmental awareness have risen together.  However, at present, the conversion of biomass to syngas (en route to synthetic petroleum) produces various unwanted organic byproducts, generally termed tars.  Extensive research has been done over the last decade on syngas reforming catalysts that will chemically remove or reform tars more efficiently and effectively.  To date, the major hurdle has been the cost-prohibitive nature of many of the materials and processes to create catalysts.
Researchers at K-State have developed a more economically viable technique for syngas cleaning and conditioning.  Their procedure uses char, a waste byproduct of carbon combustion, in combination with Nickel (II) Oxide.  Although their material costs for the catalyst are considerably lower, results indicate that their char-supported catalysts are just as effective as the best-known current catalyst (NiO/Al2O3), removing 99% of tars within experimental parameters, conditioning the syngas and even converting some tar into useful H2 and CO.  These results suggest that as the global market for energy derived from syngas grows, a char-supported catalyst could be incredibly successful.


  • Less Expensive and saved use of Ni       
  • No impregnation or calcining necessary for NiO support
  • Higher carbon monoxide concentrations in the reformed syngas
  • Just as effective as more expensive tar removal techniques


This technology could be used at any bio-energy facility that produces syngas as an intermediary between organic waste and usable fuel.