Techno-economic assessment of membrane assisted fluidized bed reactors for pure H2 production with CO2 capture

V. Spallina, D. Pandolfo, A. Battistella, M.C. Romano, M. Van Sint Annaland, F. Gallucci

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This paper addresses the techno-economic assessment of two membrane-based technologies for H2 production from natural gas, fully integrated with CO2 capture. In the first configuration, a fluidized bed membrane reactor (FBMR) is integrated in the H2 plant: the natural gas reacts with steam in the catalytic bed and H2 is simultaneously separated using Pd-based membranes, and the heat of reaction is provided to the system by feeding air as reactive sweep gas in part of the membranes and by burning part of the permeated H2 (in order to avoid CO2 emissions for heat supply). In the second system, named membrane assisted chemical looping reforming (MA-CLR), natural gas is converted in the fuel rector by reaction with steam and an oxygen carrier (chemical looping reforming), and the produced H2 permeates through the membranes. The oxygen carrier is re-oxidized in a separate air reactor with air, which also provides the heat required for the endothermic reactions in the fuel reactor. The plants are optimized by varying the operating conditions of the reactors such as temperature, pressures (both at feed and permeate side), steam-to-carbon ratio and the heat recovery configuration. The plant design is carried out using Aspen Simulation, while the novel reactor concepts have been designed and their performance have been studied with a dedicated phenomenological model in Matlab. Both configurations have been designed and compared with reference technologies for H2 production based on conventional fired tubular reforming (FTR) with and without CO2 capture.

The results of the analysis show that both new concepts can achieve higher H2 yields than conventional plants (12–20% higher). The high electricity consumptions of membrane-based plants are associated with the required low pressure at the retentate side. However, the low energy cost for the CO2 separation and compression makes the overall reforming efficiency from 4% to 20% higher than conventional FTR with CO2 scrubbing. FBMR and MA-CLR show better performance than FTR with CO2 capture technology in terms of costs mainly because of lower associated CAPEX. The cost of H2 production reduces from 0.28 €/Nm3H2 to 0.22 €/Nm3H2 (FBMR) and 0.19 €/Nm3H2 (MA-CLR).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-273
Number of pages17
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2016


  • Chemical looping
  • CO capture
  • H production
  • Membrane
  • Reforming


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