Monday, January 27, 2014

Productivity and IE in Industrial Gas Manufacturing

The improved ammonia process utilizing pressure swing adsorption will help reduce energy consumption and costs. The estimated energy savings by 2030 are in excess of 7 trillion Btu. At power plants and other
facilities that use ammonia in their SCR and SNCR systems, the scaleable, on-demand
process will also eliminate the need to transport and store large amounts of ammonia, helping
to improve worker and plant safety.
Feb 2009

Hydrogen Production

Green Process for producing Hydrogren - Cost Effectiveness

Hydrogen is abundant element, but is generally bound to oxygen in water (H2O) or to carbon in methane (CH4), the primary component in natural gas. At present, industrial hydrogen is produced from natural gas using a process that consumes a great deal of energy while also releasing carbon into the atmosphere, thus contributing to global carbon emissions.

Using electrolysis, wherein the electrode serves as a catalyst, a material that can spur one reaction after another without ever being used up, hydrogen can be made. Platinum is the best catalyst for electrolysis. If cost were no object, platinum might be used to produce hydrogen from water today.

But money matters. The world consumes about 55 billion kilograms of hydrogen per year. It now costs about $1 to $2 per kilogram to produce hydrogen from methane.

Researchers have come out with a cheaper alternative. Researchers synthesized nanoclusters of  special moly sulfide. These nanoclusters were deposited onto a sheet of graphite, a material that conducts electricity. The graphite and moly sulfide form a cheap electrode. It is a substitute for platinum, the ideal but expensive catalyst for electrolysis. The experimenters found that their cheap, moly sulfide catalyst had the potential to liberate hydrogen from water on something approaching the efficiency of a system based on prohibitively expensive platinum.

The larger questions were: could this technology scale to an industrial level plant? And what will be the finished cost per kilogram?

Last year, Thomas Jaramillo, an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Stanford and a dozen co-authors studied four factory-scale production schemes and published  an article for The Royal Society of Chemistry's journal of Energy and Environmental Science. They concluded that it could be feasible to produce hydrogen in factory-scale electrolysis facilities at costs ranging from $1.60 and $10.40 per kilogram. The lower end is  competitive with current practices based on methane. Therefore developing this process further means the world can move  from carbon-intensive resources to renewable, sustainable technologies to produce hydrogen.  2013 paper
Technical and economic feasibility of centralized facilities for solar hydrogen production via photocatalysis and photoelectrochemistry!divAbstract

Over view of technology options
2009 report

Efficient, Highly Productive Hydrogen Production from Glucose
The long-term objective of this research is to enable the widespread deployment of a new technology that converts sugars derived from cellulosic biomass into hydrogen, with energy conversion yields greater than 90% and fuel value conversions at volumetric productivities at least 10-fold higher than current U.S. biomass-to-ethanol technologies. The process for accomplishing this will use inexpensive bacterial cell extracts to convert glucose, xylose and water into hydrogen and CO2. A kinetic and thermodynamic model for a novel, cell-free enzymatic pathway will be developed, providing new scientific insights.

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