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ECN publication
Palladium alloy membranes for energy efficient membrane reactors
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Energy Efficiency in Industry 1-9-2005
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-RX--05-152 Conference Paper
Number of pages: Full text:
11 Download PDF  

Presented at: Seventh Netherlands Catalysis and Chemistry Conference, Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands, 6-8 maart 2006.


InECN?s vision hydrogen separation membranes will play a key role in future power production systems and industrial chemical production processes. The driving force for the application of these membranes is that during reaction favourable thermodynamics can be utilised to increase efficiency while elegantly CO2 can be captured under high pressure or chemical products can be obtained cost-effectively.

Applications envisaged and currently investigated are:

· process integrated hydrogen membrane reactors for reforming, water gas shift and production of paraffins with parallel removal of hydrogen,

· small-scale efficient hydrogen production with membrane reactors,

· hydrogen recovery from industrial (waste) streams.

  In the above processes membrane separation can only be economically viable using current thin layer palladium alloy membrane technology, however a further increase in flux and/or decrease in membrane price is absolutely needed to convince the process owners of the suitability of this promising technology. Membrane development at ECN focuses on the development of thinner and cheaper metallic membranes with higher hydrogen permeation rates. Important activities concern the development of reproducible manufacturing techniques for porous stainless steel supported thin layer palladium alloy membranes, improvement of long-term stability and prevention of performance decrease due to poisonous adsorbing gas components such as CO or sulphur. The research is guided and supported by advanced process studies and flowsheet calculations using membrane reactor simulators and membrane reactor testing under simulated realistic conditions. This paper gives an overview of the results and current status of the membrane materials development as part of the R&D trajectory of hydrogen membrane reactors at ECN.

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