Project No: FE0004908
Performer: Praxair, Inc.


Contacts
Jenny Tennant 
Gasification Systems 
Technology Manager 
National Energy Technology Laboratory 
3610 Collins Ferry Road 
P.O. Box 880 
Morgantown, WV 26507-0880 
304-285-4830 
jenny.tennant@netl.doe.gov

Darryl Shockley 
Project Manager 
National Energy Technology Laboratory 
3610 Collins Ferry Road 
P.O. Box 880 
Morgantown, WV 26507-0880 
304-285-4697 
darryl.shockley@netl.doe.gov

Joseph Schwartz 
Principal Investigator 
Praxair, Inc. 
175 East Park Dr. 
Tonawanda, NY 14150 
716-879-7455 
joseph_schwartz@praxair.com

Duration
Award Date:  10/01/2010
Project Date:  09/30/2015

Cost
DOE Share: $6,005,722.00
Performer Share: $2,573,882.00
Total Award Value: $8,579,604.00

Performer website: Praxair, Inc. - http://www.praxair.com

Advanced Energy Systems - Gasification Systems

Advanced Hydrogen Transport Membranes for Coal Gasification

Project Description

Praxair is conducting research to develop hydrogen transport membrane (HTM) technology to separate carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen (H2) in coal-derived syngas for IGCC applications. The project team has fabricated palladium based membranes and measured hydrogen fluxes as a function of pressure, temperature, and membrane preparation conditions.

Membranes are a commercially-available technology in the chemical industry for CO2 removal and H2 purification. There is, however, no commercial application of membrane processes that aims at CO2 capture for IGCC syngas. Due to the modular nature of the membrane process, the design does not exhibit economy of scale—the cost of the system will increase linearly as the plant system scale increases making the use of commercially available membranes, for an IGCC power plant, cost prohibitive. For a membrane process to be a viable CO2 capture technology for IGCC applications, a better overall performance is required, including higher permeability, higher selectivity, and lower membrane cost.

Membranes shown (from top to bottom): ceramic support, activated and coated with palladium oxide, plated with palladium, and plated with palladium and gold. 
Membranes shown (from top to bottom): ceramic support, activated and coated with palladium oxide, plated with palladium, and plated with palladium and gold.

Program Background and Project Benefits

Gasification is used to convert a solid feedstock, such as coal, petcoke, or biomass, into a gaseous form, referred to as synthesis gas or syngas, which is primarily hydrogen and carbon monoxide. With gasification-based technologies, pollutants can be captured and disposed of or converted to useful products. Gasification can generate clean power by adding steam to the syngas in a water gas shift (WGS) reactor to convert the carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide (CO2) and to produce additional hydrogen. The hydrogen and CO2 are separated—the hydrogen is used to make power and the CO2 is sent to storage, converted to useful products or used for enhanced oil recovery. In addition to efficiently producing electric power, a wide range of transportation fuels and chemicals can be produced from the cleaned syngas, thereby providing the flexibility needed to capitalize on the changing economic market. As a result, gasification provides a flexible technology option for using domestically available resources while meeting future environmental emission standards. Polygeneration plants that produce multiple products are uniquely possible with gasification technologies. The Gasification Systems program is developing technologies in three key areas to reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of producing syngas: (1) Feed Systems, (2) Gasifier Optimization and Plant Supporting Systems, and (3) Syngas Processing Systems.

Syngas processing research and development underway emphasizes technologies that can be efficiently integrated into the plant, optimized with the temperature and pressure requirements of other systems, and meet product delivery specifications. A major cost element in gasification plants is converting raw syngas into a pure and specific gas used to create the plant's target product suite. High-hydrogen, low-methane, ultraclean syngas is versatile and can be used for power production with CO2 capture, fuels or chemicals production, and for many polygeneration applications. The technologies being developed are focused on high-efficiency processes that operate at moderate to high temperatures and clean syngas of all contaminants to the extremely low levels needed for chemical production—often significantly lower than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) required levels for power plants.

The Praxair hydrogen transport membrane (HTM) project targets improvements in H2-CO2 separation membrane characteristics, including higher permeability, higher selectivity, and lower membrane cost. Specifically, the project work will scale-up current HTM technology to develop the design of a membrane hydrogen-separation unit capable of producing at least 4 tons/day of H2 from syngas derived from coal or coal-biomass by testing a 2 lbs/day membrane module using coal-derived syngas. Increased efficiency and directly resulting cost reductions come by operating the transport membranes at higher temperature (in combination with warm gas cleanup technology being developed). HTM technology will be versatile, applicable to both integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) with over 90% carbon capture, and having the ability to make chemical grade hydrogen for liquid fuel, chemicals synthesis, and polygeneration applications.

This project is a follow-up effort to Advanced Hydrogen Transport Membrane for Coal Gasification, an earlier NETL-sponsored investigation by Praxair, Inc.