The water gas shift (WGS) reaction is an equilibrium reaction between water and carbon monoxide on the one side and carbon dioxide and hydrogen on the other. The forward reaction is exothermic with a reaction enthalpy of -41 kJ mol-1.

Reaction scheme of the WGS-reaction.

High equilibrium conversions can thus only be achieved at low temperatures as depicted in Figure 1.

Thermodynamical equilibrium in the Water-Gas-Shift-Reaction (Aspen Plus 2006 simulation data)

Industrial WGS catalysts are based on mixed oxides and require temperatures above 200 °C. The catalysts are very susceptible toward poisoning by traces of sulfur or chloride in the feed. Finding catalyst systems that can operate at lower temperatures and withstand feed impurities is a challenging task in current research.
In a joint research collaboration funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and industrial partners the SILP concept is used to develop novel catalyst for this important reaction.