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Membrane Reactor Technologies Inks Deal With Mitsubishi

Membrane Reactor Technologies Ltd, (MRT), a Canadian developer of hydrogen generation and purification systems, today announced that it has signed an agreement with Mitsubishi Canada for Mitsubishi to exclusively represent MRT’s commercial interests in Japan, with non-exclusive rights for the rest of the world.

Mitsubishi is assisting MRT to establish collaborations with major corporations, to raise investment and to expand commercial opportunities for MRT’s membrane-based hydrogen technologies.

The announcement coincides with MRT’s presentation at the 2005 World Hydrogen Technologies Convention this week in Singapore.

MRT’s hydrogen generation and purification technology offers clear advantages for hydrogen users around the world. We are confident that companies in Japan and elsewhere will be interested in collaborating with MRT.

—Fumikazu Matsuura, President of Mitsubishi Canada


MRT’s membrane reactor for hydrogen production

MRT’s hydrogen production process is an alternative steam reforming process that is based on a fluidized-bed membrane reactor (FBMR) that combines hydrocarbon refining, shift conversion and hydrogen purification into a single step.

The FMBR process is intended to address some of the principal disadvantages of conventional steam methane reforming (SMR—currently the most widespread process for hydrogen production), including the sheer scale of production required to make it cost-effective.

MRT’s FBMR process uses:

  • A single, fluidized bed to replace the parallel fixed beds in conventional SMR. The use of the single, fluidized bed results, according to MRT, in better heat and mass transfer, improved temperature uniformity, lower pressure drops, more compact equipment and greatly augmented catalyst effectiveness.

  • Perselective membrane surfaces are deployed within the reactor for in situ withdrawal of hydrogen as it is produced. This provides a very pure initial hydrogen product (at least 99.99%), eliminates downstream purification via PSA, improves the yield by shifting the equilibrium forward for each of the basic reactions, facilitates operation at lower temperature, diminishes CO2 emissions and reduces the penalty of operating at high pressures.

  • One option for the FBMR process involves introducing air, enriched air or oxygen into the reactor to provide autothermal operations. This option permits improved energy integration, reduces coke build-up on the catalyst, further diminishers overall CO2 emissions and virtually eliminates emissions of NOx.

A proof-of-concept Alpha reactor unit is located at an NRC facility in Vancouver, BC, and has validated the operation of the membrane reactor at 15Nm3/hr.

In December 2004, MRT announced that it was working with HERA and BOC on a US$3.8-million project to integrate MRT’s membrane reactor technology with HERA’s hydride compression system into a single unit. The results will be a system with lower capital costs and higher efficiencies based on both the MRT system and the improved thermal efficiency and lower compression energy by integrating compression with the reactor system.

This project is due to deliver a prototype by November 2007, with a concept for mass production developed by March 2008.

MRT has also developed the HydRec family of hydrogen purifiers and concentrators based on its proprietary membrane technology. These devices are designed to allow hydrogen users to upgrade bulk industrial hydrogen to 99.999% (or “5 nines&ldqo;) purity cost-effectively and reliably.

The HydRec family of hydrogen recovery units recover hydrogen from mixed gas streams such as Town Gas, or refinery fuel gas, and then upgrade it from a combustible gas to a more valuable chemical or fuel cell fuel. MRT offers a broad selection of membranes, which determine the product’s hydrogen concentration and the capacity of each unit.

While continuing with development of its patented Fluid Bed Membrane Reactor technology for generating pure hydrogen, MRT is testing a new family of products based upon its advanced hydrogen permeable membrane technology. These products enable ultra-pure hydrogen (99.999%+) to be produced by purification of industrial grade hydrogen and by extraction from hydrogen-containing gas mixtures such as Town Gas and other syngases.



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