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Catalytic Hydrogen Production from Methane: A Review on Recent Progress and Prospect


Natural gas (Methane) is currently the primary source of catalytic hydrogen production, accounting for three quarters of the annual global dedicated hydrogen production (about 70 M tons). Steam–methane reforming (SMR) is the currently used industrial process for hydrogen production. However, the SMR process suffers with insufficient catalytic activity, low long-term stability, and excessive energy input, mostly due to the handling of large amount of CO2 coproduced. With the demand for anticipated hydrogen production to reach 122.5 M tons in 2024, novel and upgraded catalytic processes are desired for more effective utilization of precious natural resources. In this review, we summarized the major descriptors of catalyst and reaction engineering of the SMR process and compared the SMR process with its derivative technologies, such as dry reforming with CO2 (DRM), partial oxidation with O2, autothermal reforming with H2O and O2. Finally, we discussed the new progresses of methane conversion: direct decomposition to hydrogen and solid carbon and selective oxidation in mild conditions to hydrogen containing liquid organics (i.e., methanol, formic acid, and acetic acid), which serve as alternative hydrogen carriers. We hope this review will help to achieve a whole picture of catalytic hydrogen production from methane.

Funding source: The work shown in this paper was supported by Director, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Division of Chemical Sciences, Geological and Biosciences of the U.S. Department of Energy under contract no. DE-AC02-05CH11231. This work was supported by the Hydrogen Materials Advanced Research Consortium (HyMARC), established as part of the Energy Materials Network by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Fuel Cell Technologies Office, under Contract Number DE-AC02-05CH11231.
Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain
Countries: United States

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