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Keywords:

  • aqueous-phase reforming;
  • biomass;
  • carbohydrate;
  • carbon membrane;
  • hydrogen

Abstract

Hydrogen was produced by aqueous-phase reforming (APR) of sorbitol in a carbon-on-alumina tubular membrane reactor (4 nm pore size, 7 cm long, 3 mm internal diameter) that allows the hydrogen gas to permeate to the shell side, whereas the liquid remains in the tube side. The hydrophobic nature of the membrane serves to avoid water loss and to minimize the interaction between the ceramic support and water, thus reducing the risks of membrane degradation upon operation. The permeation of hydrogen is dominated by the diffusivity of the hydrogen in water. Thus, higher operation temperatures result in an increase of the flux of hydrogen. The differential pressure has a negative effect on the flux of hydrogen due to the presence of liquid in the larger pores. The membrane was suitable for use in APR, and yielded 2.5 times more hydrogen than a reference reactor (with no membrane). Removal of hydrogen through the membrane assists in the reaction by preventing its consumption in undesired reactions.