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Direct Route from Ethanol to Pure Hydrogen through Autothermal Reforming in a Membrane Reactor: Experimental Demonstration, Reactor Modelling and Design


This work reports the integration of thin (~3e4 mm thick) Pd-based membranes for H2 separation in a fluidized bed catalytic reactor for ethanol auto-thermal reforming. The performance of a fluidized bed membrane reactor has been investigated from an experimental and numerical point of view. The demonstration of the technology has been carried out over 50 h under reactive conditions using 5 thin Pd-based alumina-supported membranes and a 3 wt%Pt-10 wt%Ni catalyst deposited on a mixed CeO2/SiO2 support. The results have confirmed the feasibility of the concept, in particular the capacity to reach a hydrogen recovery factor up to 70%, while the operation at different fluidization regimes, oxygen-to-ethanol and steam-to-ethanol ratios, feed pressures and reactor temperatures have been studied. The most critical part of the system is the sealing of the membranes, where most of the gas leakage was detected. A fluidized bed membrane reactor model for ethanol reforming has been developed and validated with the obtained experimental results. The model has been subsequently used to design a small reactor unit for domestic use, showing that 0.45 m2 membrane area is needed to produce the amount of H2 required for a 5 kWe PEM fuel-cell based micro-CHP system.

Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain
Countries: Italy ; Netherlands ; Spain

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