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Comment Business & Economics

This pyrolysis process coproduces hydrogen and carbon dioxide

By Chemical Engineering |

Hydrogen is produced directly from biomass and other carbonaceous materials, with simultaneous capture of carbon dioxide, in a process being developed by Energy Quest, Inc. (Edmonton, Alta., Canada; edlinks.chemengonline.com/6897-533). In the PyStR (pyrolytic steam reforming) process, crushed or shredded feedstock and steam are fed directly into a circulating bed of calcium oxide. The fuel is pyrolized at about 1,400°F to produce Hâ‚‚, CO and COâ‚‚; and the CO and COâ‚‚ immediately react with the CaO to form calcium carbonate. The CaCO3 (plus ash) is separated from the Hâ‚‚ and calcined at 1,800–1,900°F to produce COâ‚‚ and recover CaO, which is recycled to the first stage. About 20% of the produced Hâ‚‚ is burned with air to fuel the indirect calcination step and to raise steam for pyrolysis. The combustion of Hâ‚‚ with air for calcination also produces water (steam) and nitrogen. So far, Energy Quest has tested the process at the 200–300-lb/h scale, using various biomass fuels, coal, refuse-derived fuel and shredded scrap tires. Wilf Ouellette, the company president, says the process promises to be relatively inexpensive because it uses cheap feedstocks, while the capital cost…
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