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A Novel Process for Improved Hydrogen Separation and Recovery

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-FG02-10ER85933
Agency Tracking Number: 95720
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 12 d
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0000161
Solicitation Year: 2010
Award Year: 2010
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2011-03-18
Small Business Information
19039 E. Plaza Dr., Suite 290
Parker, CO 80134
United States
DUNS: 196231166
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 David Wickham
 (720) 352-7161
Business Contact
 David Wickham
Title: Dr.
Phone: (720) 352-7161
Research Institution

Because of increasing demand for energy and decreasing supply of fossil fuels there now is a strong need to reduce fossil fuel consumption and one way to do this is to use more efficient methods to convert fuel to power. Currently, the technology that has one of the highest energy conversion efficiencies is the fuel cell and as a result, there is strong interest in the efficient production of hydrogen from fossil fuel feedstocks. Hydrogen is produced by steam reforming hydrocarbon fuels and the final step in the process is hydrogen separation from other products. Unfortunately, pressure swing absorption (PSA) which is the current method of choice only recovers between 65 and 90% of the hydrogen that is produced. Clearly a more efficient hydrogen separation process is needed. In this Phase I proposal, Reaction Systems LLC will develop a novel process for hydrogen separation with potential efficiencies of over 98%. In addition, the process could also increase the production efficiency upstream of the separation process, resulting in substantial increases in hydrogen yield. Our process will utilize a novel, catalyzed solution that will selectively react with hydrogen isolating it from the process flow. The solution is then dehydrogenated at higher temperature, producing a very pure product at high pressure. Moreover, the off gas from our separation process will be emitted at feed pressure so some of it can be recycled in the water gas shift reactor, which could produce an additional 5% improvement in hydrogen yield. Finally the system is much simpler than a PSA unit with much lower expected capital costs. In Phase II we will optimize the process and construct a pilot scale demonstration rig that will be used on the slip stream of an operating hydrogen production facility. Commercial Application and Other Benefits: The successful development of a more efficient hydrogen separation and intensification method would be a major benefit because it would provide hydrogen for fuel cells or other applications at lower cost. The cost of producing a high purity flow of hydrogen is a major hurdle that must be overcome to increase the use of fuel cells, which are one of the most efficient methods of converting fuel to energy. This would facilitate an immediate reduction in CO2 emissions and also allow the US to reduce its reliability on fossil fuels.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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