The large-scale use of hydrogen as an energy source is a prominent U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) goal. In a joint program, WRI and the University of Wyoming have developed and tested a more efficient and economical process for producing hydrogen from gasified coal and other mixed gases. Through the introduction of three innovations: an improved water-gas shift catalyst; an improved vanadium alloy hydrogen separation membrane; and an assembly that integrates the catalyst and membrane components, we are demonstrating the integrated hydrogen production process.
Our focus now is on developing a scaled-up system that can demonstrate the technology for commercial applications. DOE is targeting a FutureGen demonstration plant within 10 years.
From the work completed, WRI has gained experience using brazing as a joining technique for sealing vanadium components to structural steels. A prototype device with four chambers for gas flow, employing three membrane discs and two water-gas shift catalyst discs was constructed to demonstrate the viability of the integrated device. Performance tests were conducted in WRI’s fluidized bed gasifier. Construction and performance testing of an assembly capable of producing 10,000 liters of hydrogen per day is the next goal for this continuing effort.
This technology has considerable commercial potential and WRI is pleased to play a significant role in its development.