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Title: An Overview of Natural Gas Conversion Technologies for Co-Production of Hydrogen and Value-Added Solid Carbon Products

Abstract

This report was prepared in response to the U.S. Department of Energy Fuel Cell Technologies Office Congressional Appropriation language to support research on carbon-free production of hydrogen using new chemical processes that utilize natural gas to produce solid carbon and hydrogen. The U.S. produces 9-10 million tons of hydrogen annually with more than 95% of the hydrogen produced by steam-methane reforming (SMR) of natural gas. SMR is attractive because of its high hydrogen yield; but it also converts the carbon to carbon dioxide. Non-oxidative thermal decomposition of methane to carbon and hydrogen is an alternative to SMR and produces CO 2-free hydrogen. The produced carbon can be sold as a co-product, thus providing economic credit that reduces the delivered net cost of hydrogen. The combination of producing hydrogen with potentially valuable carbon byproducts has market value in that this allows greater flexibility to match the market prices of hydrogen and carbon. That is, the higher value product can subsidize the other in pricing decisions. In this report we highlight the relevant technologies reported in the literature—primarily thermochemical and plasma conversion processes—and recent research progress and commercial activities. Longstanding technical challenges include the high energetic requirements (e.g., high temperatures and/or electricitymore » requirements) necessary for methane activation and, for some catalytic processes, the separation of solid carbon product from the spent catalyst. We assess current and new carbon product markets that could be served given technological advances, and we discuss technical barriers and potential areas of research to address these needs. We provide preliminary economic analysis for these processes and compare to other emerging (e.g., electrolysis) and conventional (e.g., SMR) processes for hydrogen production. The overarching conclusion of this study is that the cost of hydrogen can be potentially reduced to target levels of $2/kg with the co-production and sale of a sufficiently high-value carbon product. Technological advances are required to understand the reaction conditions and design reactor systems that can achieve high yields of the select carbon products and segregate or separate the high-value carbon products, and optimize the production process for both hydrogen and carbon.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [2];  [2]
  1. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  2. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Fuel Cell Technologies Office (EE-3F)
OSTI Identifier:
1411934
Report Number(s):
PNNL-26726; ANL-17/11
HT0201000
DOE Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830; AC02-06CH11357
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; 30 DIRECT ENERGY CONVERSION; methane; pyrolysis; fuel cell; hydrogen; carbon

Citation Formats

Dagle, Robert A., Dagle, Vanessa, Bearden, Mark D., Holladay, Jamelyn D., Krause, Theodore R., and Ahmed, Shabbir. An Overview of Natural Gas Conversion Technologies for Co-Production of Hydrogen and Value-Added Solid Carbon Products. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2172/1411934.
Dagle, Robert A., Dagle, Vanessa, Bearden, Mark D., Holladay, Jamelyn D., Krause, Theodore R., & Ahmed, Shabbir. An Overview of Natural Gas Conversion Technologies for Co-Production of Hydrogen and Value-Added Solid Carbon Products. United States. doi:10.2172/1411934.
Dagle, Robert A., Dagle, Vanessa, Bearden, Mark D., Holladay, Jamelyn D., Krause, Theodore R., and Ahmed, Shabbir. Thu . "An Overview of Natural Gas Conversion Technologies for Co-Production of Hydrogen and Value-Added Solid Carbon Products". United States. doi:10.2172/1411934. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1411934.
@article{osti_1411934,
title = {An Overview of Natural Gas Conversion Technologies for Co-Production of Hydrogen and Value-Added Solid Carbon Products},
author = {Dagle, Robert A. and Dagle, Vanessa and Bearden, Mark D. and Holladay, Jamelyn D. and Krause, Theodore R. and Ahmed, Shabbir},
abstractNote = {This report was prepared in response to the U.S. Department of Energy Fuel Cell Technologies Office Congressional Appropriation language to support research on carbon-free production of hydrogen using new chemical processes that utilize natural gas to produce solid carbon and hydrogen. The U.S. produces 9-10 million tons of hydrogen annually with more than 95% of the hydrogen produced by steam-methane reforming (SMR) of natural gas. SMR is attractive because of its high hydrogen yield; but it also converts the carbon to carbon dioxide. Non-oxidative thermal decomposition of methane to carbon and hydrogen is an alternative to SMR and produces CO2-free hydrogen. The produced carbon can be sold as a co-product, thus providing economic credit that reduces the delivered net cost of hydrogen. The combination of producing hydrogen with potentially valuable carbon byproducts has market value in that this allows greater flexibility to match the market prices of hydrogen and carbon. That is, the higher value product can subsidize the other in pricing decisions. In this report we highlight the relevant technologies reported in the literature—primarily thermochemical and plasma conversion processes—and recent research progress and commercial activities. Longstanding technical challenges include the high energetic requirements (e.g., high temperatures and/or electricity requirements) necessary for methane activation and, for some catalytic processes, the separation of solid carbon product from the spent catalyst. We assess current and new carbon product markets that could be served given technological advances, and we discuss technical barriers and potential areas of research to address these needs. We provide preliminary economic analysis for these processes and compare to other emerging (e.g., electrolysis) and conventional (e.g., SMR) processes for hydrogen production. The overarching conclusion of this study is that the cost of hydrogen can be potentially reduced to target levels of $2/kg with the co-production and sale of a sufficiently high-value carbon product. Technological advances are required to understand the reaction conditions and design reactor systems that can achieve high yields of the select carbon products and segregate or separate the high-value carbon products, and optimize the production process for both hydrogen and carbon.},
doi = {10.2172/1411934},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu Nov 16 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Thu Nov 16 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}

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