The company formerly known as Catacel Corp. made its public debut as a Johnson Matthey company this week at the American Fuel & Petrochemical (AFPM) Q&A and Technology Forum in Denver. Catacel Corp. was acquired by Johnson Matthey on Sept. 2, 2014, and has been integrated into the company’s Process Technologies division.
Catacel SSR® structured catalyst for steam methane reforming was featured at the Johnson Matthey hospitality suite at AFPM. Many AFPM attendees were already familiar with Catacel SSR from the company’s past marketing and plant demonstrations. SSR is now operating in commercial steam methane reformers in Turkey and Mexico and has been ordered by hydrogen reformer operators in Brazil and the United States, with those installations scheduled to take place over the next few months.
“SSR is disruptive to the ceramic catalyst pellet paradigm, a real step-change to plant economics,” says Don Lensner, formerly Catacel’s director of sales and now senior business manager for Johnson Matthey Process Technologies Inc. “Operators have long been interested, but those with larger plants look for demonstrations in similar-size reformers. JM’s confidence in Catacel SSR technology and its subsequent acquisition of our business will enable us to develop and service those larger demonstrations faster than the old Catacel Corp. could on its own. This is a great marriage for both parties and gives JM another means to demonstrate its technological superiority and foresight in the hydrogen and syngas space. Interest from plant operators at AFPM was high and affirms that rationale that brought our companies together.”
Instead of presenting catalyst on small ceramic pellets, Catacel SSR presents the active catalyst on engineered thin foil structures that are assembled into stacks and loaded into reformer tubes. SSR is designed to be a direct replacement for ceramic pellets and no plant modifications are required to substitute SSR for traditional pellets. Within the reformer tubes, the engineered design of each SSR fan causes the process gas to continuously impinge against the hot inside of the tube wall. This repetitive contact of process gas and the hot wall increases the amount of heat from the furnace that penetrates into the catalyst. As a result of this increased heat transfer, plant operators can reduce fuel to the burner, reducing fuel consumption and costs, or increase process gas throughput, increasing hydrogen production. Both scenarios increase plant efficiency and improve plant economics.