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Impact on industry

- Production of industrial grade hydrogen at economical competitive prices.
- Reduction  avoidance cost and maintaining high plant efficiency.
- Reliable and continues operation of MA-SER plant with reduction of plant downtime.

Impact on society

- Awareness of carbon capture cost for energy production from (non-)renewable resources, avoidance required to decrease environmental impact
- Large scale production of renewable energy carrier at relative low production cost due to carbon emission avoidance, compared to traditional industrial production methods.


The majority of the energy produced in the 21st century are derived from non-renewable carbon feedstocks; including crude oil, natural gas and coal [1].The conversion of these carbon feedstock results in the production of , which is classified as a greenhouse gas (GHG).  GHG are required to maintain a habitable temperature on Earth, due to partial reflection of IR-radiation send from Earth’s surface back. In the past decades, due to increased human activity, high  emissions resulted in the increased concentrations of GHGs in the atmosphere, raising the average global temperature significantly.

The economical driving force for investing in  separation from the process streams is the cost of  emission. The prospect for the near future is the increase of the cost for  emission will exceed the cost of  avoidance[2].This results in the investment of energy production with cost efficiently  avoidance methods.

To reduce the cost of  separation and maintaining the energy efficiency of the power plant Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) techniques are proposed[3]. These techniques are (1) post-combustion separation, (2) pre-combustion separation and (3) oxy-fuel combustion.  The pre-combustion route converts the carbon feedstock to alternative energy carriers, like hydrogen. Conversion of these energy carriers to energy results in a carbon free exhaust stream, avoiding the local  emission. A novel reactor design combines the in-situ  capture and production of high grade hydrogen at relatively low reforming temperature using the combination of sorbent circulation a perm-selective membranes, called the MA-SER configuration.

Project objective

The objective of this research is the design and operation of a 10 Nm3/h high grade hydrogen production plant using the MA-SER reactor configuration with methane as carbon feedstock and steam as oxidizing agent at industrial feasible operation conditions.

Research objectives:

  • Selection of sorbent and catalyst physical and chemical properties based on MA-SER operation conditions
  • Determine equipment dimensions and requirements based models results from multilevel design
  • Define process efficiency factors based on energy and material efficiency to compare with traditional processes
  • Deliver model tools for parametric study on industrial design scale of the MA-SER process taking into account computational cost

Process description

The MA-SER concept combines the production of high grade hydrogen with integrated CO2 capture at relatively low reforming temperature () in a bubbling fluidized bed reactor. At this temperature the reforming of methane is thermodynamically restricted. To shift the reactive mixture of steam and methane towards complete conversion of  and  products, a sorbent with high  capture capacity  is introduced to capture the  by means of a fixation reaction. The spent sorbent is transported to a secondary reactor, called the regenerator. The regenerator is operated at elevated temperature ( ) in a bubbling fluidized bed reactor to supply energy required for the calcination reaction. To increase the reaction rate and supply a fluidizing agent, steam is introduced. From the outlet steam the steam is condensed a pure stream of CO2 is obtained. This regenerated sorbent is transported to the reformer, closing the sorbent loop.

The outlet stream of the reformer reactor is carbon lean and hydrogen rich. To increase the purity of the hydrogen stream, hydrogen perm-selective Pd-Ag membranes are installed above the reactor to obtain >99.999% pure hydrogen stream [4]. The retentate stream containing the remaining unrecovered hydrogen and other components are combusted with air to supply the heat for the calcination reaction in the regenerator. Finally the steam produced in the combustion reactor is recovered using a heat exchanger and the gaseous stream consisting of carbon lean-oxygen depleted airstream is send to the exhaust.


  • Integrated carbon capture, reducing post process separation OPEX and CAPEX
  • Decreased reactor temperature operation, reduction of heat loss to environment
  • High purity product streams of hydrogen and carbon dioxide
  • Thermal integrated system with combustion of carbon lean stream


  • Operation cost of membranes using vacuum pumps compared to sweep gasses
  • Limited degree of sorbent utilization due to sintering of sorbent
  • Solids looping between reformer and regenerator, resulting in thermal shock solids

Financial contributor

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 760944


[1]      L. A. Greening et al., “The Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040,” ExxonMobil, p. 80, 2015.

[2]      P. Luckow et al., “2015 Carbon Dioxide Price Forecast,” Synap. Energy Econ. Inc., pp. 1–39, 2015.

[3]      O. Dr. Bolland, Carbon dioxide capture, no. October. 2009.

[4]      N. A. Al-Mufachi, N. V. Rees, and R. Steinberger-Wilkens, “Hydrogen selective membranes: A review of palladium-based dense metal membranes,” Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev., vol. 47, pp. 540–551, 2015.

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