Crucial Department of Energy (DOE) research that could pave the way to a future hydrogen economy for America is making significant progress. Six DOE research and development projects designed to promote the large-scale production of hydrogen from coal are close to completing their first year of activity—progress that is detailed in fact sheets being published today. The fact sheets can be found at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) website at the links shown below. NETL, the only national laboratory dedicated primarily to fossil fuel R&D, manages these and hundreds of other fossil energy R&D projects for DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy (FE).
Last year, DOE selected the six R&D projects in support of President Bush’s Hydrogen Fuel Initiative, which provides funding for research and technology development to realize a future hydrogen economy that minimizes America’s dependence on foreign oil and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to furthering the science of producing hydrogen from coal at a commercial scale, the projects will assist in developing technology for safely and permanently storing carbon dioxide (CO2) —a process known as sequestration— that is generated during hydrogen production. CO2 has the greatest concentration in the atmosphere among greenhouse gases, which are thought to contribute to postulated global climate change.
Pure hydrogen is a potential energy carrier for the future, and it may be produced from hydrogen-containing materials such as water and fossil fuels. Until other resources are available to produce hydrogen at lower costs, production from coal is the most economical source.
The six projects total nearly $9.4 million in value, with DOE providing $7.4 million and industry partners contributing more than $1.8 million. Summaries of the six projects follow:
- Praxair Inc. (Tonawanda, N.Y.) and partners are developing a device to purify hydrogen before it is fed to a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell. If the device can be produced in mass quantities, it is potentially the lowest-cost, most effective method to “polish” crude hydrogen, independent of the source. To see the fact sheet for this project, click here: Novel Hydrogen Purification Device Integrated with PEM Fuel Cells [PDF-1.3MB].
- Southwest Research Institute (San Antonio, Tex.) is leading a team to develop and demonstrate a durable, ultra-thin (less than 5 microns) hydrogen-separation membrane with excellent resistance to sulfur and halides (halogen mineral salts such as fluoride or chloride). To see the fact sheet for this project, click here:High Permeability Ternary Palladium Alloy Membranes with Improved Sulfur and Halide Tolerance [PDF-627KB].
- United Technologies Research Center (East Hartford, Conn.), with two other firms, is undertaking research, technology development, and economic analysis to further develop a sulfur-, halide-, and ammonia-resistant hydrogen-separation membrane capable of operating at high temperature and pressure. To see the fact sheet for this project, Experimental Demonstration of Advanced Palladium Membrane Separators for Central High-Purity Hydrogen Production [PDF-140KB].
- Media and Process Technology Inc. (Pittsburgh, Pa.), in partnership with a university and two industrial firms, is exploring a membrane-based “one-box” process to generate low-cost hydrogen from coal. To see the fact sheet for this project, click here: Carbon Molecular Sieve Membrane as a True One Box Unit for Large-Scale Hydrogen Production [PDF-432KB].
- Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio) and industry partners are developing a process to produce high-purity hydrogen from synthesis gas in a single-stage reactor, a process that enhances the purity and yield of hydrogen. To see the fact sheet for this project, click here: Enhanced Hydrogen Production Integrated with CO2 Separation in a Single-Stage Reactor [PDF-2.4MB].
- Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, Mass) is investigating the use of composite palladium and palladium-alloy porous stainless steel membranes to reduce the number of unit operations needed to produce hydrogen from synthesis gas at an advanced integrated gasification combined-cycle power plant. To see the fact sheet for this project, click here: Composite Pd and Pd Alloy Porous Stainless Steel Membranes for Hydrogen Production and Process Intensification [PDF-652KB].