Scaling up hydrogen production reactor with integrated CO2 capture

Associate professor Fausto Gallucci and professor Martin van Sint Annaland of TU/e’s Chemical Engineering and Chemistry department receive €265,000 in total to scale up a reactor for hydrogen production with integrated CO­­2 capture. NWO Applied and Engineering Sciences contributes €150,000 to the project in their so called Demonstrator program. The other part comes from three supporting companies: Tecnalia, ICI caldaie and Johnson Matthey.

Within Fausto Gallucci’s NWO-VIDI project, granted in 2012, a new kind of membrane reactor for pure hydrogen production with integrated CO2 capture has been developed. In a controlled lab environment this reactor can produce 1 Nm3 of hydrogen per hour. The aim of the Demonstrator project is to make a working prototype that can produce 20 Nm3 of hydrogen per hour in an industrial environment.

Why hydrogen?
Hydrogen is nowadays an important chemical for many processes (including refineries, electronics, glass etc.) and is considered a very attractive energy carrier for the future transportation and the power-to-chemicals strategy. Despite the large market for hydrogen, the production of hydrogen suffers from two main problems. At small scale, conventional hydrogen production routes are very inefficient, thus the hydrogen is often transported in bottles with increased safety concerns and increased costs. At large scale, still the production of hydrogen is responsible for large amount of anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

Applications membrane reactor
One of the most interesting applications of the new system is in distributed hydrogen production facilities, as for instance in hydrogen filling stations. Indeed the purity of the obtained hydrogen can easily be tuned according to the membrane type, allowing to achieved the purity required for this application (>99.995%). The development of a pervasive fueling infrastructure is among the toughest challenges hindering the use of hydrogen as a transportation fuel.

Additionally, a large market is also available in the range of 10-150 Nm3/h of hydrogen, such as in the glass industry and district CHP (combined heat and power), where hydrogen is generally transported with large containers. Here the membrane reactor system can provide a large benefit in terms of reduced hydrogen cost.