Poisoning of Ammonia Synthesis Catalyst Considering Off-Design Feed Compositions
Activity of ammonia synthesis catalyst in the Haber-Bosch process is studied for the case of feeding the process with intermittent and impurity containing hydrogen stream from water electrolysis. Hydrogen deficiency due to low availability of renewable energy is offset by increased flow rate of nitrogen, argon, or ammonia, leading to off-design operation of the Haber-Bosch process. Catalyst poisoning by ppm levels of water and oxygen is considered as the main deactivation mechanism and is evaluated with a microkinetic model. Simulation results show that catalyst activity changes considerably with feed gas composition, even at exceptionally low water contents below 10ppm. A decreased hydrogen content always leads to lower poisoning of the catalyst. It is shown that ammonia offers less flexibility to the operation of Haber-Bosch process under fluctuating hydrogen production compared to nitrogen and argon. Transient and significant changes of catalyst activity are expected in electrolysis coupled Haber-Bosch process.