Modified Two-Step Dimethyl Ether (DME) Synthesis Simulation from Indonesian Brown Coal

Dwiwahju Sasongko, Abdurrahman Fadhlil Halim Luthan, Winny Wulandari


A theoretical study was conducted to investigate the performance of dimethyl ether (DME) synthesis from coal. This paper presents a model for two-step DME synthesis from brown coal represented by the following processes: drying, gasification, water-gas reaction, acid gas removal, and DME synthesis reactions. The results of the simulation suggest that a feedstock ratio of coal : oxygen : steam of 1 : 0.13 : 0.821 produces the highest DME concentration. The water-gas reactor simulation at a temperature of 400°C and a pressure of 20 bar gave the ratio of H2/CO closest to 2, the optimal value for two-step DME synthesis. As for the DME synthesis reactor simulation, high pressure and low temperature promote a high DME concentration. It is predicted that a temperature of 300°C and a pressure of 140 bar are the optimum conditions for the DME synthesis reaction. This study also showed that the DME concentration produced by the two-step route is higher than that produced by one-step DME synthesis, implying that further improvement and research are needed to apply two-step DME synthesis to production of this liquid fuel.

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