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Sorption-enhanced reaction process for hydrogen production



A novel concept called Sorption Enhanced Reaction Process (SERP) for hydrogen production by steam-methane reformation (SMR) reaction uses a fixed packed column of an admixture of an SMR catalyst and a chemisorbent to remove carbon dioxide selectively from the reaction zone. The chemisorbent is periodically regenerated by using the principles of pressure swing adsorption. The SERP process steps allow direct production of high-purity hydrogen (>95 mol %) at high methane to hydrogen conversion (>80%) with dilute methane (<5 mol%) and trace carbon oxide (∼50 ppm) impurities at the reaction pressure by operating the reactor at a low temperature of 450°C. A conventional plug-flow reactor packed with catalyst alone not only needs to be operated at a much higher temperature (>650°C) to achieve the same methane to hydrogen conversion, but produces a much lower purity of hydrogen product (∼75 mol %) with a large quantity of carbon oxide (∼20 mol %) impurities. A novel chemisorbent, which reversibly sorbs carbon dioxide in the presence of excess steam at a temperature of 300–500°C, was developed for application in the SERP and the process is experimentally demonstrated in a bench-scale apparatus.

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