278478 Heat-Integrated Steam Reformer for Hydrogen Production

Tuesday, October 30, 2012: 4:39 PM
302 (Convention Center )
Saurabh A. Vilekar, Christian Junaedi, Kyle Hawley, Dennis Walsh and Subir Roychoudhury, Precision Combustion, Inc. (PCI), North Haven, CT

Precision Combustion, Inc (PCI) has been developing a novel heat-integrated steam reforming reactor for efficient syngas (i.e., H2 and CO) generation based on its patented Microlith® technology, providing higher heat flux compared to other state-of-the-art reactors. The Microlith based reactor design results in a remarkably compact, lightweight, and efficient steam reforming reactor, which is otherwise widely known to be limited by the heat transfer resistance from the exothermic (heat source) to the endothermic reforming side. The burner component comprises of catalytic oxidizer instead of flame-stabilized combustion, resulting in improved temperature control and uniformity. In this paper, results from testing the reformer with a distillate fuel (containing 2-5 ppmw sulfur) and natural gas will be presented, where near equilibrium product distribution was observed. The effect of steam-to-carbon ratio, operating pressure (i.e., up to 10 atm), and thermal inputs on the catalyst performance, fuel conversion and H2 production will be discussed. The sulfur tolerance studies of the steam reforming catalyst and the burner catalyst will also be presented. Catalytic sulfur tolerance allows effective utilization of poor quality or waste fuels, thus significantly improving the overall process efficiency. Results from hundreds of hours of testing of the steam reformer unit showed minimal catalyst degradation, thus providing a measure of the reactor performance under realistic conditions and demonstrating the durability of the reformer. Finally, downstream hydrogen separation approaches are being examined and results will be reported. We will also discuss modeling analysis for system integration for high purity hydrogen generation.

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