A thermodynamically-reversible chemical reactor capable of producing hydrogen in a pure stream believe their ideas will transform the chemicals industry.
The authors of a study published in the prestigious journal Nature Chemistry believe what they have dubbed a Hydrogen Memory Reactor will open he way for mass production of hydrogen.
There have been moves to develop WA’s Pilbara to split water inti hydrogen and oxygen using solar energy, with exports to Japan and Korea initially via existing LNG facilities.
However the latest breakthrough is a process that could be utilised without water.
The novel reactor avoids mixing reactant gases by transferring oxygen between reactant streams via a solid state oxygen reservoir.
This reservoir remains close to equilibrium with the reacting gas streams and retains a ‘chemical memory’ of the conditions to which it has been exposed.
The result is that hydrogen is produced as a pure product stream, removing the need for costly separation of the final products.
Led by Newcastle University, UK, the research involved the universities of Durham and Edinburgh and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in France.
Professor Ian Metcalfe, lead author and Professor of Chemical Engineering at Newcastle University said:
“Chemical changes are usually performed via mixed reactions whereby multiple reactants are mixed together and heated. But this leads to losses, incomplete conversion of reactants and a final mixture of products that need to be separated.
“With our Hydrogen Memory Reactor we can produce pure, separated products. You could call it the perfect reactor.”
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