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Water-Gas-Shift Membrane Reactor for Coal-to-Hydrogen Applications - an Overview

John Shen1, Daniel C. Cicero2, Jenny B. Tennant2, Gary J. Stiegel2, Arun C. Bose2, Josť D. Figueroa2, and V. Udaya S. Rao2. (1) U.S. Department of Energy, Germantown, MD 20874, (2) National Energy Technology Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, P.O. Box 880, Morgantown, WV 26507

The Hydrogen from Coal program underway at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is a part of the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative announced by President Bush in 2003 during his State of the Union address. One key element of the program is to develop novel water-gas-shift membrane reactor technologies which combine water-gas-shift and hydrogen separation into a single step. The R&D efforts take into consideration the issues that are specific to the hydrogen production from coal. First, the membrane reactor will be able to handle trace impurities in the syngas feed including sulfur. Secondly, it is preferred to operate the reactor at conditions compatible with the front-end syngas cleanup step to achieve improved process efficiency. Thirdly, the reactor will offer robust performance deemed necessary for operations in central coal-to-hydrogen production plants. This paper will highlight the progresses made in the water-gas-shift membrane reactor area. It will also discuss the issues related to the integration of the membrane reactors with the front-end steps. The membrane reactor efforts, when successfully completed, will be demonstrated in the FutureGen project which is scheduled to begin shakedown in 2012.