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H2 unit combines production, purification and compression

By Scott Jenkins |

A recently developed hydrogen generation unit combines an autothermal, fluidized-bed methane reformer with a metal hydride compressor. Aside from combining the reforming, H2 separation and compression, which are part of conventional H2 generation (top diagram), the engineers behind the system demonstrated the use of Pd-alloy membranes in a fluidized-bed environment. The unit is designed to produce H2 outputs of 15 m3/h (standard temperature and pressure) and has achieved H2 purities of 99.99%. The system, originally supported under a U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE; Washington, D.C., www.energy.gov) program, was developed by Membrane Reactor Technologies Ltd. (MRT; Vancouver, B.C., Canada; www.membranereactor.com), along with partners Ergenics Corp. (Ringwood, N.J.; www.ergenics.com) and Linde North America Inc. (Murray Hill, N.J.; www.us.lindegas.com). MRT developed a steam methane reformer equipped with 25 palladium-alloy membranes that allow in-situ separation of H2 generated by the methane reforming reaction (bottom diagram). The Pd alloy membrane selectively allows H2 molecules to diffuse out of the reforming zone through the foil. “The H2 removal actually drives the thermodynamic reaction equilibrium forward,” says MRT…
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