Pilot-Testing Cost-Competitive Hydrogen Generation with Inherent Pre-Combustion Carbon Capture

With funding from DOE, GTI is testing large-scale hydrogen production using natural gas in a modular hydrogen generator that inherently captures the CO2 at pipeline quality. The technology has applications in clean power and enhanced oil recovery (EOR).

GTI has piloted a hydrogen production process with an inherent capability for carbon dioxide (CO2) separation. This process is a cost-competitive, steam-neutral alternative to traditional steam methane reforming (SMR). It also produces a higher-quality hydrogen stream (>90%, which can be upgraded further) while eliminating the need for a water gas shift reactor. Furthermore, it also eliminates the costly amine system to separate the CO2. This eliminates the associated capital expenditure and operating expenses of amine based carbon capture systems.

It is estimated that this system’s hydrogen cost—including carbon capture—will be 15% less compared to conventional steam methane reforming, which does not have carbon capture.

The concept for a 5MMSCFD (12,750 kg/day) modular demonstration plant has been defined and costs estimated for its construction and operation. The design is scalable to very large H2 production rates (e.g., 100MMSCFD [255,000 kg/day]) with the attendant economies of scale, with single or multiple modules.

Because the process has a byproduct of essentially pure CO2, it offers a cost-effective approach for pre-combustion carbon capture for a combined cycle power plant. GTI performed a preliminary evaluation of a commercial power plant using H2 from GTI’s process compared to a NGCC plant with carbon capture. The CO2 product can also be used for EOR, where the hydrogen can be used on-site for power, partial upgrading, or placed into the natural gas pipeline.

Using GTI’s H2 process with carbon capture will increase the cost of electricity by only 30%, making it the lowest cost carbon capture technology, with sale of the CO2 further offsetting this increase. The use of an advanced H2 turbine will further reduce costs.

GTI has completed pilot testing (under DOE funding), which verified catalyst stability and successfully demonstrated SER chemistry and process operation. H2 purity and yield were at or above expected levels for the limited sorbent feed rates. The next step is to upgrade the pilot using an indirectly fired calciner, and demonstrate operations. In addition, GTI is executing a hydrogen-to-power study for U.S. DOE with major OEM support.

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