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A chemical loop utilises a recyclable metal with water and hydrocarbon feedstocks to produce hydrogen, water and carbon dioxide. The metal is involved in a repeating cycle of reaction steps


Technology

What is it?

A chemical loop utilises a recyclable metal with water and hydrocarbon feedstocks to produce hydrogen, water and carbon dioxide. The metal is involved in a repeating cycle of reaction steps.

Why is it important?

Hydrogen and carbon dioxide are obtained as separate high-purity gas streams, allowing easier integration of CCUS.

Characteristics

  • Inputs: Hydrocarbons / coal / tar. Optional: biomass
  • By-products: CO2, other hydrocarbons
  • Operating temperature: 700 to 1000°C

Benefits

  • Multiple feedstock options: fuel gas (including alcohol, hydrocarbons [when combined with reforming], biogas, waste gas), heavy bio-crude, biomass, tar and coal
  • Solid oxygen carrier eliminates need for air as oxygen supply – fuel is converted into a pure stream of CO2 and H2O, which is easily separated
  • High purity hydrogen (99.95-99.999%) can be obtained as a separate gas stream
  • High fuel conversion efficiency
  • Heat from exothermic oxidation can be channelled to the exothermic reduction to reduce required heat input
  • If using fluidised bed reactor: continuous operation, supply of pure separated CO2, N2 and H2 - potentially a poly-generation application
  • Can be incorporated with syngas conversion processes
  • Carbon capture integration has been shown to be effective

Limitations

  • Oxygen carriers require replacement over time – utilisation of low-cost natural minerals is important to reduce the cost

RD&D priorities

  • Optimise the composition or structure of the oxygen carrier to improve stability
  • Evaluate fuel flexibility and investigate natural minerals as oxygen carriers to improve overall dynamic process characteristics
  • Improve reactor design
  • Improve process development and integration
  • Improve process simulation
  • Demonstrate prototypes and pilot plants (large scale, long term operation)
  • Demonstrate use of oxygen carriers in industrial environment

Known active organisations

  • The Australian National University
  • CSIRO
  • Monash University
  • The University of Adelaide
  • The University of Newcastle
  • The University of Queensland

Other opportunities like this

  • Coal is reacted with controlled amounts of oxygen and/or steam at high temperatures to produce syngas (hydrogen and carbon monoxide) which also contains carbon dioxide, methane and water vapour. Gasification involves four stages: drying, pyrolysis, combustion, and gasification reactions.

  • Coal or oil is heated in the absence of oxygen, in order to degrade it into char, pyrolysis oil and syngas.

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