Project No: FE0011958
Performer: Gas Technology Institute


Jenny Tennant 
Technology Manager
Gasification Systems
National Energy Technology Laboratory
3610 Collins Ferry Road
P.O. Box 880, MS B17
Morgantown, WV 26507-0880
(304) 285-4830

Arun Bose
Project Manager
National Energy Technology Laboratory
626 Cochrans Mill Road
P.O. Box 10940, MS 922-273C
Pittsburgh, PA 15236-0940
(412) 386-5917

Dr. Shaojun Zhou
Principal Investigator
Gas Technology Institute
1700 S. Mount Prospect Road
Des Plaines, IL 60018-1804
(847) 544-3403

Award Date:  10/01/2013
Project Date:  01/31/2015

DOE Share: $800,000.00
Performer Share: $200,000.00
Total Award Value: $1,000,000.00

Performer website: Gas Technology Institute -

Advanced Energy Systems - Gasification Systems

Low Cost High-H2 Syngas Projection for Power and Liquid Fuels

Project Description

GTI will determine the technical feasibility of a novel hybrid metal/polymer membrane by depositing metal/alloy on the surface of a hydrogen-selective, temperature-resistant polybenzimidazole (PBI) polymer membrane substrate (provided by SRI International) to produce a hydrogen separation membrane with high hydrogen selectivity.  Laboratory studies will establish the proof of concept of a novel metal-polymeric membrane.  Additionally, GTI will obtain critical design data for an integrated multi-contaminant syngas removal process.  A techno-economic analyses will integrate these technologies with an Aerojet Rocketdyne (PWR) gasifier using coal co-fed with natural gas to produce power, hydrogen, and liquid fuels.  GTI will compare the integrated system with current hydrogen-from-coal production technologies.

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 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.

Gas Technology Institute will establish the proof-of-concept of a metal-polymeric membrane technology in improving performance of gasification systems in production of power, hydrogen, and liquid fuels from coal co-fed with natural gas. Specifically, laboratory studies will be conducted to obtain critical design data for an integrated multi-contaminant removal process, techno-economic analyses performed to integrate these technologies with a Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne gasifier, and comparison made with current hydrogen-from-coal technologies. Benefits of the technology include significant reductions in the cost of producing power with 90% carbon capture, and of producing diesel fuel, from coal.

The study Advanced Gasifier Pilot Plant Concept Definition prepared by Pratt Whitney Rocketdyne developed a concept for a gasification pilot plant incorporating advanced technologies. The current project builds upon that former work, in further assessing the potential of incorporation the metal-polymeric membrane technology in improving performance of gasification systems.

Project Scope and Technology Readiness Level

Specifically, GTI will procure flat sheets of PBI membrane with various pore sizes and porosities, coat the substrates with metals/alloys, conduct hydrogen permeation tests using simulated synthesis gas (syngas), and select the best performing membranes for techno-economic analysis.  The project scope includes further experimental development of the University of California Sulfur Recovery Process – High Pressure (UCSRP-HP), an integrated multicomponent impurity removal process.  Kinetic studies will be conducted in a co-current reactor to determine the design conditions necessary to achieve parts-per-million levels of hydrogen sulfide in the treated syngas and maximize the removal of impurities such as ammonia and chlorides.  GTI will create preliminary conceptual designs and conduct techno-economic analyses to estimate plant efficiency, cost of products, and environmental performance for three production configurations: namely integrated gasification combined cycle power, chemical-grade hydrogen, and diesel fuel—involving integration of the novel hydrogen membrane and the UCSRP-HP technologies into an Aerojet Rocketdyne gasification system with carbon capture. 

The Technology Readiness Level (TRL) assessment identifies the current state of readiness of the key technologies being developed under the DOE’s Clean Coal Research Program.  This project has not been assessed.

The TRL assessment process and its results including definition and description of the levels may be found in the "2012 Technology Readiness Assessment-Analysis of Active Research Portfolio".