New reactor concept for hydrogen production

27. January 2020


In collaboration with other partners, the Graz based BEST Competence Centre has developed a reactor concept, in which hydrogen is generated from wood waste with low energy consumption. Production and conditioning of the gas is carried out in one process step using special membranes. This 2-in-1 reactor enables a gas-liquid reaction at much lower temperatures, reduced energy consumption and lower emission values of up to 40% less.


New reactor concept for hydrogen production


In 2015, the BEST – Bioenergy and Sustainable Technologies GmbH competence center started the EU project ROMEO (reactor optimization through membrane-based process control) with eight European partners. The development of a 2-in-1 reactor is intended to replace energy-intensive production processes in the future and to save a substantial part of the energy requirement.


In classic hydrogen production processes, multi-stage water-gas shift systems are used to convert carbon monoxide and water vapor to carbon dioxide and hydrogen. Then this mixture has to be cleaned under increased pressure. The combination of water-gas shift and gas purification developed in the course of the project in one process step can now drastically reduce material, emissions and energy consumption. As part of the project, a catalyst was developed that enables high sales with low use of materials. In addition, a separation membrane is used to separate carbon dioxide from the process in order to obtain a pure hydrogen flow.

Testing with synthetic gases showed a 11% reduction in material consumption. Energy consumption has been reduced by up to 15% and emissions by up to 40%. Measurement data showed a significantly higher hydrogen production than expected. The membrane also shows high separation rates, although further developments are necessary for industrial applications. Through further development work, there is above all the opportunity to use the system in biomass gasification plants for hydrogen production and thus to achieve an increase in efficiency to over 65% (previously 55%).

“The newly developed reactor concept enables us to efficiently convert synthesis gas from biomass and wood waste to hydrogen,” said Jürgen Loipersböck from BEST.

The European Union supported the project with total funding of EUR 6 million. In addition to BEST – Bioenergy and Sustainable Technologies GmbH (formerly BIOENERGY 2020+), the project consortium included the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, RWTH Aachen University, and the Technical University of Denmark, Evonik Performance Materials GmbH (project coordinator), LiqTech International A / S (Denmark), the European Membrane House (Belgium), the Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Spain) and Linde AG.

Translated by google



Jürgen Loipersböck
BEST - Bioenergy and Sustainable Technologies
+43 5 02378-9357

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