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Exploring the opportunities for carbon capture in modular, small-scale steam methane reforming: an energetic perspective

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Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational journal of hydrogen energy
Early online date4 May 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 May 2019


Small-scale steam methane reforming units produce more than 12 % of all the CO2-equivalent emissions from hydrogen production and, unlike large-scale units, are usually not integrated with other processes. In this article, the authors examine the hitherto under-explored potential to utilise the excess heat available in the small-scale steam methane reforming process for partial carbon dioxide capture. Reforming temperature has been identified as a critical operating parameter to affect the amount of excess heat available in the steam methane reforming process. Calculations suggest that reforming the natural gas at 850 °C, rather than 750 °C, increases the amount of excess heat available by about 28.4 % (at 180 °C) while, sacrificing about 1.62 % and 1.09 % in the thermal and exergetic efficiency of the process, respectively. Preliminary calculations suggest that this heat could potentially be utilised for partial carbon capture from reformer flue gas, via structured adsorbents, in a compact capture unit. The reforming temperature can be adjusted in order to regulate the amount of excess heat, and thus the carbon capture rate.

    Research areas

  • steam methane reforming, SMALL-SCALE, carbon capture, grand composite curve, excess heat

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