Catalytic Processes for Clean Hydrogen Production from Hydrocarbons


Abstract: Conversion of hydrocarbon fuels to hydrogen with a high degree of purity acceptable for fuel cell operation presents interesting challenges for the design of new selective catalysts and catalytic processes. Natural gas, LPG, gasoline, and diesel are regarded as promising hydrocarbon fuels. Methanol has received attention despite its toxicity, and ethanol has recently become of interest as a much less toxic and renewable resource. Selective catalytic processes considered for commercial use are based on steam reforming and partial oxidation of these fuels. Autothermal reforming (ATR) or indirect partial oxidation (IPOX) combines total oxidation (TOX), steam reforming (SR), and water-gas shift (WGS) reactions, where energy for the endothermic SR is supplied by exothermic TOX to provide an economically feasible process. Selective removal of CO from the hydrogen-rich reformate is achieved in high- and/or low-temperature WGS and preferential CO oxidation (PROX) reactors located between the reformer and the fuel cell. Recent works on catalytic hydrogen production and purification are surveyed, and research areas of future interest are underlined.

Keywords: Hydrogen production, hydrogen clean-up, SR, ATR, IPOX, WGS, PROX, fuel processors, engineered catalysts, micro-scale technologies

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