Production of fuel-cell grade H2 by sorption enhanced steam reforming of acetic acid as a model compound of biomass-derived bio-oil
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionApplied Catalysis B: Environmental. 2016, 184 64-76. 10.1016/j.apcatb.2015.11.028
Fuel-cell grade H2 has been produced by the sorption enhanced steam reforming (SESR) of acetic acid, a model compound of the bio-oil obtained from the fast pyrolysis of biomass. A Pd/Ni–Co catalyst derived from a hydrotalcite-like material (HT) with dolomite as CO2 sorbent was used in the process. A fixed-bed reactor with three temperature zones was employed to favor the catalytic steam reforming reaction in the high-temperature segment, the SESR reaction in the intermediate-temperature part, as well as the water-gas shift (WGS) and CO2 capture reactions in the low-temperature segment. Different conditions of pressure, temperature, steam/C molar ratio and weight hourly space velocity (WHSV) in the feed were evaluated. Higher steam/C molar ratios and lower WHSV values facilitated the production of H2 and reduced the concentrations of CH4, CO and CO2 in the produced gas. A fuel-cell grade H2 stream with a H2 purity of 99.8 vol.% and H2 yield of 86.7% was produced at atmospheric pressure, with a steam/C ratio of 3, a WHSV of 0.893 h−1 and a temperature of 575 °C in the intermediate part of the reactor (675 °C in the upper segment and 425 °C in the bottom part). At high pressure conditions (15 atm) a maximum H2 concentration of 98.31 vol.% with a H2 yield of 79.81% was obtained at 725 °C in the intermediate segment of the reactor (825 °C in the upper segment and 575 °C in the bottom part). Under these conditions an effluent stream with a CO concentration below 10 ppm (detection limit) was obtained at both low and high pressure, making it suitable for direct use in fuel cell applications.