The slurry bubble column reactor differentiates the Liquid Phase Methanol process from conventional technology.
Conventional methanol reactors use fixed beds of catalyst pellets and operate in the gas phase. The liquid phase reactor uses catalyst in powdered form, slurried in an inert mineral oil.
As synthesis gas is introduced into the slurry reactor it bubbles through the mineral oil, contacts the catalyst, and reacts to form methanol. Methanol vapors leave the reactor and are condensed to a liquid.
The liquid is sent to distillation columns for removal of higher alcohols, water and other impurities and then stored in tanks before being used as a feedstock for Eastman Chemical Company's chemicals-from-coal complex.