MANHATTAN — The U.S. Department of Energy has announced that Chuancheng Duan, assistant professor in the Tim Taylor Department of Chemical Engineering at Kansas State University, has been selected to receive a $500,000 grant to develop a novel method for co-generation of liquid chemicals and electricity from natural gas.

Duan will lead the three-year project, “Modular reactor for co-generation of liquid chemicals and electricity from stranded natural gas,” alongside Hanping Ding and Pejman Kazempoor, assistant professors at the University of Oklahoma. The project, funded by the DOE Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, aims to design, demonstrate and test a novel, techno-economically feasible, modular and process-intensified system for aromatics production and simultaneous power generation from natural gas.

“The success of this project will lead to a reactor that can produce high-value liquid chemicals and power from stranded natural gas and create a set of optimized materials and catalysts for building the membrane reactors,” Duan said. “Additionally, the project will educate and train the next generation of engineers and scientists, support novel, early stage research at K-State and equip the students with cutting-edge, translatable skill sets to succeed in longstanding and enduring careers.”

The proposed modular system will increase the natural gas conversion and aromatics yield by electrochemically utilizing the hydrogen for power generation. The goal is to directly produce aromatics and generate power with a natural gas conversion of greater than 30% while achieving a greater than 50% increase in aromatics yield and realizing greater than 90% reduction in emissions.