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Open AccessArticle

Hydrogen Production via Steam Reforming: A Critical Analysis of MR and RMM Technologies

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Unit of Process Engineering, Department of Engineering, Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, via Álvaro del Portillo 21, 00128 Rome, Italy
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Unit of Chemical-physics Fundamentals in Chemical Engineering, Department of Engineering, Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, via Álvaro del Portillo 21, 00128 Rome, Italy
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Membranes 2020, 10(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10010010
Received: 11 November 2019 / Revised: 21 December 2019 / Accepted: 31 December 2019 / Published: 3 January 2020
‘Hydrogen as the energy carrier of the future’ has been a topic discussed for decades and is today the subject of a new revival, especially driven by the investments in renewable electricity and the technological efforts done by high-developed industrial powers, such as Northern Europe and Japan. Although hydrogen production from renewable resources is still limited to small scale, local solutions, and R&D projects; steam reforming (SR) of natural gas at industrial scale is the cheapest and most used technology and generates around 8 kg CO2 per kg H2. This paper is focused on the process optimization and decarbonization of H2 production from fossil fuels to promote more efficient approaches based on membrane separation. In this work, two emerging configurations have been compared from the numerical point of view: the membrane reactor (MR) and the reformer and membrane module (RMM), proposed and tested by this research group. The rate of hydrogen production by SR has been calculated according to other literature works, a one-dimensional model has been developed for mass, heat, and momentum balances. For the membrane modules, the rate of hydrogen permeation has been estimated according to mass transfer correlation previously reported by this research group and based on previous experimental tests carried on in the first RMM Pilot Plant. The methane conversion, carbon dioxide yield, temperature, and pressure profile are compared for each configuration: SR, MR, and RMM. By decoupling the reaction and separation section, such as in the RMM, the overall methane conversion can be increased of about 30% improving the efficiency of the system. View Full-Text
Keywords: membrane; methane; hydrogen permeation; mathematical model; conversion membrane; methane; hydrogen permeation; mathematical model; conversion
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Franchi, G.; Capocelli, M.; De Falco, M.; Piemonte, V.; Barba, D. Hydrogen Production via Steam Reforming: A Critical Analysis of MR and RMM Technologies. Membranes 2020, 10, 10.

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