CCS and Power Systems

Advanced Energy Systems - Gasification Systems

Engineering Design of Advanced H2 CO2 PD and PD/Alloy Composite Membrane Separations and Process Intensification

Performer: Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Project No: FE0004895

Program Background and Project Benefits

Gasification is used to convert a solid feedstock, such as coal, petcoke, or biomass, into a gaseous form, referred to as synthesis gas or syngas, which is primarily hydrogen and carbon monoxide. With gasification-based technologies, pollutants can be captured and disposed of or converted to useful products. Gasification can generate clean power by adding steam to the syngas in a WGS reactor to convert the carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide (CO2) and to produce additional hydrogen. The hydrogen and CO2 are separated—the hydrogen is used to make power and the CO2 is sent to storage, converted to useful products or used for enhanced oil recovery. In addition to efficiently producing electric power, a wide range of transportation fuels and chemicals can be produced from the cleaned syngas, thereby providing the flexibility needed to capitalize on the changing economic market. As a result, gasification provides a flexible technology option for using domestically available resources while meeting future environmental emission standards. Polygeneration plants that produce multiple products are uniquely possible with gasification technologies. The Gasification Systems program is developing technologies in three key areas to reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of producing syngas: (1) Feed Systems, (2) Gasifier Optimization and Plant Supporting Systems, and (3) Syngas Processing Systems.

Syngas processing research and development underway emphasizes technologies that can be efficiently integrated into the plant, optimized with the temperature and pressure requirements of other systems, and meet product delivery specifications. A major cost element in gasification plants is converting raw syngas into a pure and specific gas used to create the plant’s target product suite. High-hydrogen, low-methane, ultraclean syngas is versatile and can be used for power production with CO2 capture, fuels or chemicals production, and for many polygeneration applications. The technologies being developed are focused on high-efficiency processes that operate at moderate to high temperatures and clean syngas of all contaminants to the extremely low levels needed for chemical production—often significantly lower than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) required levels for power plants.

The Worcester Polytechnic Institute hydrogen transport membrane (HTM) project targets improvements in H2-CO2 separation membrane characteristics, including higher permeability, higher selectivity, and lower membrane cost. Specifically, the project will include R&D in improved membrane design, leading to the demonstration testing of the process at the pre-engineering/pilot scale of 2 lbs/day of H2. Increased efficiency and directly resulting cost reductions come by operating the transport membranes at higher temperature (in combination with warm gas cleanup technology being developed). HTM technology will be versatile, applicable to both integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) with over 90% carbon capture, and having the ability to make chemical grade H2 for liquid fuel, chemicals synthesis, and polygeneration applications.

This project is a follow-up effort to Composite Palladium and Palladium-Alloy Porous Stainless Steel Membranes for Hydrogen Production and Process Intensification, an earlier NETL-sponsored investigation by Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Project Details