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Design of Catalytic Recombiners for Safe Removal of Hydrogen from Flammable Gas Mixtures


Several today’s and future applications in energy technology bear the risk of the formation of flammable hydrogen/air mixtures either due to the direct use of hydrogen or due to hydrogen appearing as a by-product. If there’s the possibility of hydrogen being released accidentally into closed areas countermeasures have to be implemented in order to mitigate the threat of an explosion. In the field of nuclear safety passive auto-catalytic recombiners (PAR) are well-known devices for reducing the risk of a hydrogen detonation in a nuclear power plant in the course of a severe accident. Hydrogen and oxygen react on catalyst materials like platinum or palladium already far below conventional flammability limits. The most important concern with regard to the utilization of hydrogen  recombiners is the adequate removal of the reaction heat. Already low hydrogen concentrations may increase the system temperature beyond the self-ignition limit of hydrogen/air mixtures and may lead to an unintended ignition on hot parts of the PAR.
Starting from the nuclear application, since several years IEF-6 and LRST perform joint research in the field of passive auto-catalytic recombiners including experimental studies, modelling and development of new design concepts. Recently, approaches on specifically designed catalysts and on passive cooling devices have been successfully tested. In a design study both approaches are combined in order to provide means for efficient and safe removal of hydrogen. The paper summarizes results achieved so far and possible designs for future applications.

Related subjects: Safety
Countries: Germany

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Design of Catalytic Recombiners for Safe Removal of Hydrogen from Flammable Gas Mixtures

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