Microscale Thermochemical Reactor for Production of DME

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Technology Description


Researchers at OSU have developed a microscale reactor for the efficient gas phase conversion of CO2 and methane to dimethyl ether (DME). The device architecture utilizes millimeter to sub-millimeter characteristic lengths and novel pillar features to achieve rapid diffusion and heat conduction, improving yield and thermal efficiency while reducing operating pressures. Solar energy can be utilized as the thermal input, further reducing energy consumption for the production of DME as compared to the state of the art.


Features & Benefits


  • high energy efficiency
  • high conversion efficiency
  • reduced pressure operation




  • agricultural methane sources
  • stranded methane


Background of Invention


Dimethyl ether (DME) is gaining interest as an alternative fuel because of its favorable chemical properties and the ability to produce it from renewable resources. Currently, DME is typically made through a 2-step process of first synthesizing then dehydrating methanol. DME can also be made in a single step through dry reforming of CO2 with methane while also utilizing solar energy as the thermal energy source. However, both processes face a variety of challenges ranging from poor kinetics, fouling of catalysts, and temperature control while using solar energy. Therefore, a solution is needed that improves reaction efficiency and yield while making the system more tolerant to fluctuations in thermal input.




patent pending; seeking development partners