Volume 87 Issue 17 | p. 29 | Concentrates
Issue Date: April 27, 2009

On-Demand Hydrogen System Ready To Roll

A catalytic process that produces high-pressure H2 from liquid hydrocarbons as needed improves the prospects for using H2 as a fuel
Department: Science & Technology
FILL 'ER UP
This conceptual image shows how EERC's on-demand hydrogen system could be used to retrofit gas stations to supply H2 for fuel-cell vehicles.
Credit: EERC
8717scon3_station
 
FILL 'ER UP
This conceptual image shows how EERC's on-demand hydrogen system could be used to retrofit gas stations to supply H2 for fuel-cell vehicles.
Credit: EERC

The University of North Dakota's Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) has announced development of a catalytic process that produces high-pressure hydrogen gas as needed from any type of liquid hydrocarbon, improving the prospects for using H2 as a fuel. The on-demand system, covered under U.S. patent 20060225348, can be used like a regular gasoline pump to fill up fuel-cell-powered vehicles, construction machinery, and electronic equipment with H2 while it is made from natural gas, gasoline, or renewable fuels such as bioethanol or biodiesel, EERC Associate Director of Research Thomas A. Erickson notes. This approach improves hydrocarbon fuel efficiency, permits easier trapping of CO2 and pollutants during H2 production, and avoids the need for a national H2 distribution infrastructure, Erickson adds. The steam-reforming process uses commercially available catalysts to strip hydrogen from carbon and purify it, similar to steam methane reforming in oil refineries. What makes the method unique, Erickson points out, is the ability to maintain H2 at pressures up to 12,000 psi, rather than isolating H2 at ambient pressure and then compressing it before use. EERC is working with industry partners and the U.S. military to commercialize the technology

 
Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © American Chemical Society

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