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Experimental analysis of ethanol steam reforming

Grant number: 06/00394-5
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2006
Effective date (End): February 28, 2010
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Mechanical Engineering
Principal Investigator:José Luz Silveira
Grantee:Márcio Evaristo da Silva
Home Institution: Faculdade de Engenharia (FEG). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Guaratinguetá. Guaratinguetá , SP, Brazil

Abstract

The crescent environmental damages associated with extraction processes, processing, transport and use of traditional fuels have spurred on search of renewable energy alternatives that mitigate those damages and guarantee the supplyment of energy in a reliable way. Therefore, the clean energy demand due to the need of minimizing of environmental impacts stimulates the use of etanol for hydrogen production (H2), becoming a viable alternative on the national panorama, corroborating the importance of this study in doctorate level. Among the principal processes of hydrogen production, electrolytic, photolytic and thermochemical ones are found. The steam reforming is the most usual process for hydrogen production in industrial scale. It is a thermochemical process that has more than one catalytic stage, is endothermic and consists of the catalytic conversion of the mixture that includes steam water and hydrocarbon or alcohol, to hydrogen. An alternative, that has shown quite viable, is the hydrogen production through the steam reforming of alcohols. Particularly, the steam reforming of ethanol is interesting due to the fact of Brazil is one of the great world sugarcane manufacturers, with production and distribution of alcohol (as a fuel) dominion. And, also, due to the global reaction of hydrogen production from ethanol corresponds to the formation of six mols of hydrogen per mol of consumed ethanol. In this work of doctorate thesis, an experimental study involving two ethanol reformers (prototypes I and II) that were developed and one of them installed at the Laboratory of Thermal Sciences of the Energy Department of UNESP (Campus of Guaratinguetá) is intended. The steam reforming systems allow a hydrogen production in the range from 0,5 to 3,5 Nm3/h. The variations accomplishment on the operation conditions of the ethanol steam reforming systems, and the development of catalysts supported on oxides of different origins in order to verify the catalytic activity of paladium, nickel and copper (Pd, Ni and Cu)-based metal catalysts supported on aluminium (γ-Al2O3), zirconium (ZrO2), and mixed oxides composed by Al2O3-ZrO2. Those catalysts will be used in the hydrogen production through the ethanol steam reforming. The outcomes will allow proposing and modifying the reaction mechanisms of ethanol steam reforming. Thermodynamic and economical analysis of the proposed systems will also be accomplished.