SBIR Phase I:Novel Microstrain Enhanced Catalyst Supports for Hydrogen Production
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project is a feasibility study to validate a novel process for forming innovative catalysts applicable to steam methane reforming. The factors that dictate heterogeneous catalytic activity are still not thoroughly understood. It is commonly believed that a material must have a high surface area to be catalytically active; yet, not all materials with high surface areas are catalytically active. Similarly, it is not surprising that porosity is also considered to be a desirable property for developing highly active catalysts. These microstructural features also do not constitute a highly reliable predictor of catalytic activity. Building on previous academic studies that identified a method to engineer structural defects in ceramic oxides that have demonstrated catalytic activity, the small business will induce structural defects in new materials and compositions to achieve new catalysts of higher activity and stability. The insights to be learned from synthesis, characterization and testing studies are expected to enhance the understanding and application of this new phenomenon in heterogeneous catalysis.
The broader/commercial impact of this project is the opportunity to create significant energy and cost savings in hydrogen production. Hydrogen gas is a major feedstock for a number of industrial processes, including ammonia production and oil refining. The current production processes of hydrogen gas are very energy intensive. The novel approach pursued by the small business may be used to form catalysts for the steam methane reforming (SMR) process, one of the principal methods for converting natural gas into hydrogen. One of the energy intensive aspects of SMR is the generation of steam, also called "process steam". If successful, the new catalyst is projected to reduce the quantity of process steam needed for SMR, increase the plant capacity and reduce tube wall temperatures which will result in lower maintenance and operating costs. The reduction in process steam is expected to lower energy consumption, leading to an average annual savings of more than $1,000,000 per hydrogen production plant. These energy savings will have a direct impact on hydrogen producers and an indirect effect on consumers of derivative products such as agricultural fertilizers used by farmers.
Small Business Information at Submission:
200 North Main Street Alfred, NY 14802
Number of Employees: