High-temperature CO2 sorbents and application in the sorption enhanced steam reforming for hydrogen production

Authors: Radfarnia, Hamid Reza
Advisor: Iliuta, Maria-Cornélia
Abstract: Sorption-enhanced steam reforming (SESR) is a forefront technology to produce H2 clean fuel, which integrates both CO2 capture and H2 production in a single process. The main objective of this work is to develop novel high-temperature CO2 sorbents and to investigate their application in SESR operation. Special attention was given to lithium zirconate (Li2ZrO3), sodium zirconate (Na2ZrO3) and calcium oxide (CaO)-based materials, as most famous high temperature CO2 sorbents, by applying two novel synthesis techniques. The application of Li2ZrO3 in CO2 capture sorption showed an increase in activity of the material prepared by surfactant template/sonication method compared to Li2ZrO3 prepared by simple surfactant template method (without sonication) or conventional wet-mixing route. Nevertheless, porous Li2ZrO3 still suffered from slow kinetics of CO2 sorption at low CO2 partial pressure (below 0.75 bar), which can limit its application for SESMR operation. Taking into consideration the improvement of Li2ZrO3 sorption properties, the same surfactant template/sonication technique was then applied to develop porous Na2ZrO3. The behavior of the new developed Na2ZrO3 was unexpected. The samples prepared by surfactant template/sonication technique were found to be less active than the conventional Na2ZrO3 during cyclic operation, due to the low resistivity of the pore structure at the very high temperature treatment required for calcination. The same surfactant template/sonication was also applied to develop Zr-stabilized CaO sorbents. An optimum Zr/Ca ratio of 0.303 was found to maximize the stability and CO2 capture activity of the proposed Zr-stabilized CaO sorbent. The results generally showed a better CO2 capture ability of Zr-stabilized CaO sorbent in comparison with pure CaO in severe cyclic operating conditions. With the purpose of reducing the cost of sorbent production, a cheaper source of CaO (natural limestone) was also considered and a novel synthesis technique (limestone acidification by citric acid followed by two-step calcination (in Ar and air atmospheres)) was applied in order to prepare highly porous CaO structure with unique CO2 capture ability. The results revealed a much better stability and CO2 sorption activity of the developed sorbent compared to natural limestone. The same technique was employed to develop a number of metal oxide (Al, Zr, Mg and Y)-stabilized CaO sorbents in order to enhance sorbent stability in severe operating conditions, i.e., high temperature regeneration in the presence of CO2. Al and Zr-stabilized CaO showed the best activity during both mild and severe operating conditions. The performance of the developed CO2 sorbents providing the best performance in CO2 capture (Zr-stabilized and Al-stabilized CaO) were then investigated experimentally in the sorption enhanced steam methane reforming (SESMR) using a fixed-bed reactor. To minimize the diffusional limitations, a hybrid catalyst-sorbent was developed for both sorbents. The application of Zr-stabilized CaO-nickel hybrid catalyst with 20.5 wt% NiO loading, prepared by surfactant-template/sonication method, resulted in 92% H2 production efficiency for the initial SESMR cycle, which is remarkably higher than traditional steam methane reforming (SMR) equilibrium H2 yield (70 %). The second developed hybrid sorbent-catalyst (Al-stabilized CaO-NiO) was prepared using limestone acidification coupled with two-step calcination technique. The long-term application of the hybrid catalyst containing 25 wt% NiO led to an average H2 production efficiency of 97.3%, proving its high efficiency in the SESMR process. In summary, the results of this thesis show that the SESR process is as an efficient alternative of traditional steam reforming for production of highly pure H2. The Al-stabilized CaO-NiO hybrid sorbent-catalyst showed an excellent activity over long-term operation, thus confirming its very high potential for use in the SESMR process.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2013
Open Access Date: 19 April 2018
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/24559
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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