Fluidized Bed Membrane Reactors for Ultra Pure H2 Production - A Step forward towards Commercialization

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In this research the performance of a fluidized bed membrane reactor for high temperature water gas shift and its long term stability was investigated to provide a proof-of-concept of the new system at lab scale. A demonstration unit with a capacity of 1 Nm3/h of ultra-pure H2 was designed, built and operated over 900 h of continuous work. Firstly, the performance of the membranes were investigated at different inlet gas compositions and at different temperatures and H2 partial pressure differences. The membranes showed very high H2 fluxes (3.89E 6 mol m 2 Pa 1 s 1 at 400 C and 1 atm pressure difference) with a H2/N2 ideal perm-selectivity (up to 21,000 when integrating five membranes in the module) beyond the DOE 2015 targets. Monitoring the performance of the membranes and the reactor confirmed a very stable performance of the unit for continuous high temperature water gas shift under bubbling fluidization conditions. Several experiments were carried out at different temperatures, pressures and various inlet compositions to determine the optimum operating window for the reactor. The obtained results showed high hydrogen recovery factors, and very low CO concentrations at the permeate side (in average <10 ppm), so that the produced hydrogen can be directly fed to a low temperature PEM fuel cell.
Molecules 2016, 21(3), 376