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Hydrogen production from ethanol in micro reactors for fuel cells

Grant number: 21/08940-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2021
Effective date (End): November 30, 2025
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Chemical Engineering - Industrial Operations and Equipment for Chemical Engineering
Principal Investigator:Rubens Maciel Filho
Grantee:Bruna Gava Floriam
Host Institution: Faculdade de Engenharia Química (FEQ). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:15/20630-4 - Biorefinery development integrated to a bioethanol sugar cane plant with zero CO2 emission: routes to convert renewable resources to bio-products and bio-electricity, AP.TEM


Hydrogen presents as a promising fuel and its production from steam reforming of renewable ethanol appealing to be both economically and environmentally suitable. Within this context, it is necessary to investigate possible solutions and their evaluation, and among them the use of process intensification concepts, which enables higher heat and mass transfer rates. With regard to chemical reactions, and specifically in this Project for obtaining hydrogen from ethanol, microchannel reactors (microreactors with microchannels) can be used to conduct this endothermic reaction and be combined with a fuel cell to provide hydrogen gas. This type of approach avoids the production of hydrogen in specific locations and its storage at high pressures. Furthermore, 3D sintering laser technology can be used to manufacture a single modular solution for electricity from ethanol and other molecules combining the reforming modules directly to Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC). This research aims to develop and test microchannel reactors to conduct steam reforming of renewable ethanol by using rapid prototyping technology for the construction of reactors and carry out conversion tests and system stability, involving electrochemical tests and consolidate the results through the characterization of materials to evaluate the compounds formed during the reaction, including possible deposits that affect the reaction in the desired product. Therefore, different projects of microreactors will be proposed and their operational performance will be verified through computer simulation. In order to observe the impact of different microreactor designs, the flow field analysis is necessary and the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation allows the prediction of temperature and concentration fields in the system. In this way conversions and yields for different projects will be predicted. In this sense, the most suitable microreactor design for the production of hydrogen can be selected considering the possible formation of deposits that diminish the conversion. The hydrogen produced will be directed to a SOFC cell which will also have its behavior predicted by computer simulation allowing a global evaluation of the process. The fuel cell to be considered is the Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC). (AU)

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