Rockefeller Invests in Chinese Synthetic Fuel Company
$4 Million for New CNG Buses at Los Angeles Airport

New, Safer Catalyst Boosts H2 Production from Syngas

Ohio State University researchers have developed a chemical catalyst that increases hydrogen production via coal gasification without using a toxic metal common in other catalysts.

The new catalyst uses a combination of iron and aluminum (Fe-Al) with other metals (such as cobalt (Co) or copper (Cu)) to harvest hydrogen from the synthetic gas (syngas) resulting from gasification. In tests, the catalyst performed up to 25% better than a commercially available alternative.

Retrieving hydrogen from a reaction between the carbon monoxide and water in the syngas requires catalysts to boost the reaction—especially in large-scale gasification.

Currently, the most popular commercial catalyst is made from iron and the toxic metal chromium (Fe-Cr). During hydrogen production, the catalyst can release chromium as a byproduct. When the catalyst material has passed its useful lifetime, it requires expensive disposal methods.

Researchers don’t fully understand the iron-chromium mechanism. The OSU research team, led by Umit Ozkan, suspected that the chromium helps maintain the pore structure of iron during the reaction, so they looked for a metal with a similar chemical structure.

That led them to aluminum, and to other complementary metals that greatly increased hydrogen production.

The research is funded by the OhioCoal Development Office and the Ohio Department of Development.

The research team to date has tested the catalyst using  a feed mixture similar to what is produced from coal gasification, and will next test whether their catalyst works in the presence of sulfur, since coal from Ohio and much of the American northeast is sulfur-rich.

But it seems as though the new Fe-Al catlayst should work with the syngas resulting from other feedstocks—but it would remain to be seen how well.


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)