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Title: Amorphous Alloy Membranes for High Temperature Hydrogen Separation

At the beginning of this project, thin film amorphous alloy membranes were considered a nascent but promising new technology for industrial-scale hydrogen gas separations from coal- derived syngas. This project used a combination of theoretical modeling, advanced physical vapor deposition fabricating, and laboratory and gasifier testing to develop amorphous alloy membranes that had the potential to meet Department of Energy (DOE) targets in the testing strategies outlined in the NETL Membrane Test Protocol. The project is complete with Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), Georgia Institute of Technology (GT), and Western Research Institute (WRI) having all operated independently and concurrently. GT studied the hydrogen transport properties of several amorphous alloys and found that ZrCu and ZrCuTi were the most promising candidates. GT also evaluated the hydrogen transport properties of V, Nb and Ta membranes coated with different transition-metal carbides (TMCs) (TM = Ti, Hf, Zr) catalytic layers by employing first-principles calculations together with statistical mechanics methods and determined that TiC was the most promising material to provide catalytic hydrogen dissociation. SwRI developed magnetron coating techniques to deposit a range of amorphous alloys onto both porous discs and tubular substrates. Unfortunately none of the amorphous alloys could be deposited without pinhole defects thatmore » undermined the selectivity of the membranes. WRI tested the thermal properties of the ZrCu and ZrNi alloys and found that under reducing environments the upper temperature limit of operation without recrystallization is ~250 °C. There were four publications generated from this project with two additional manuscripts in progress and six presentations were made at national and international technical conferences. The combination of the pinhole defects and the lack of high temperature stability make the theoretically identified most promising candidate amorphous alloys unsuitable for application as hydrogen separation membranes in coal fire systems.« less
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Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Southwest Research Institute
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Country of Publication:
United States