277217 Exergetic Analysis of Chemical Looping Reforming

Monday, October 29, 2012: 10:10 AM
324 (Convention Center )
Neha Nandakumar, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, Michelle Najera, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, John R. Kitchin, Chemical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA and Götz Veser, Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

Chemical looping combustion (CLC) is an emerging clean combustion technology in which metal oxygen carriers are exposed to oxidation/reduction cycles with air and fuel, respectively.  The oxygen carrier is first oxidized by air in the oxidizer, forming a metal oxide, and then reduced by a fuel in the reducer, forming CO2, water, and the reduced form of the metal.  Overall, CLC yields a flameless, NOx-free combustion and produces sequestration-ready CO2.  CLC has long been recognized as a highly efficient energy process when compared to conventional combustion.  This increased energy efficiency is achieved via the division of the conventional gas phase combustion reaction into the two reversible gas-solid reactions in the CLC oxidizer and reducer.  The high efficiency is due to a reduction in the entropic losses, or irreversibilities, associated with the combustion process, i.e. chemical looping has high exergetic efficiency, resulting in more usable energy when compared to conventional gas phase combustion. 

Beyond CLC, several chemical looping reforming (CLR) technologies have also been identified.  For instance, the use of steam instead of air as the oxidant has been demonstrated by our group and others to yield an efficient route produce high-purity H2 as the oxidizer effluent.  Similarly, our group has recently proposed the use of CO2 instead of air as the oxidant, resulting in chemical looping dry reforming (CLDR) as an novel method to utilize CO2 via reduction to CO (i.e. via “CO2 activation”).  While the thermodynamic and kinetic feasibility was demonstrated for these chemical looping reforming processes, their exergetic efficiency has not been studied to-date. 

In the present work, we have developed a process model for CLR processes and implemented it in the Aspen modeling software.  First results from these studies to-date indicate an increased exergetic efficiency of chemical looping dry reforming (CLDR) compared to conventional dry reforming.  Extension onto H2 production via CLR processes and comparison to conventional H2 production via steam reforming and partial oxidation is currently under way.

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