Chemical looping combustion is considered an indirect method of oxidizing a carbonaceous fuel, utilizing a metal oxide oxygen carrier to provide oxygen to the fuel. The advantage is the significantly reduced energy penalty for separating out the CO2
for reuse or sequestration in a carbon-constrained world. One of the major issues with chemical looping combustion is the cost of the oxygen carrier. Hematite ore is a proposed oxygen carrier due to its high strength and resistance to mechanical attrition, but its reactivity is rather poor compared to tailored oxygen carriers. This problem is further exacerbated by methane cracking, the subsequent deposition of carbon and the inability to transfer oxygen at a sufficient rate from the core of the particle to the surface for fuel conversion to CO2
. Oxygen needs to be readily available at the surface to prevent methane cracking. The purpose of this work was to demonstrate the use of steam to overcome this issue and improve the conversion of the natural gas to CO2
, as well as to provide data for computational fluid dynamics (CFD) validation. The steam will gasify the deposited carbon to promote the methane conversion. This work studies the performance of hematite ore with methane and steam mixtures in a 5 cm fluidized bed up to approximately 140 kPa. Results show an increased conversion of methane in the presence of steam (from 20–45% without steam to 60–95%) up to a certain point, where performance decreases. Adding steam allows the methane conversion to carbon dioxide to be similar to the overall methane conversion; it also helped to prevent carbon accumulation from occurring on the particle. In general, the addition of steam to the feed gas increased the methane conversion. Furthermore, the addition of steam caused the steam methane reforming reaction to form more hydrogen and carbon monoxide at higher steam and methane concentrations, which was not completely converted at higher concentrations and at these residence times.
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