|Sketch of the solar station
Solar Hydrogen Energy Corporation (SHEC) and its partners will deploy the world’s first solar hydrogen production station using landfill gas (LFG) (methane) as a feedstock at the Fleet Street landfill in Regina, Saskatchewan.
The plant (SHEC Station #1), based on SHEC’s Dry Fuel Reformation process—will use an array of 30 modules each of which comprises a solar mirror array and advanced solar concentrator and shutter system, and two thermocatalytic reactors to convert methane, carbon dioxide, and water into hydrogen.
SHEC Station #1 will have the capacity of producing 1.2 million kg of hydrogen per year (40,000 kg/module) and has a projected 40-year life.
The Dry Fuel process essentially substitutes solar heat for the steam heat used in steam methane reforming. SHEC feeds carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) into a reactor heated by a solar mirror array where the gases react to form hydrogen gas (H2) and carbon monoxide (CO). A water cooled iris dilates to control the amount of radiant energy directed to this reaction phase.
The intermediate products feed into a water gas shift reactor (WGSR), controlled at near atmospheric pressure. The resulting gas stream contains H2and CO2 and is saturated with water.
In a demonstration unit, SHEC’s Dry Fuel solar hydrogen generator operated for approximately 1,200 hours with no noticeable coking or degradation of the catalysts. Hydrogen production is near the theoretical maximum at approximately 66% in the product gas stream with a 98.2% mol conversion of the feed methane.
Landfills account for approximately 25% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Canada. The SHEC project will reduce Regina’s GHG emission by 25% bringing the city close to the Kyoto requirements in this one project alone.
This first project will prevent more than 1.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) from entering the atmosphere over the next twenty years and will significantly improve local air quality and reduce smog.
The Dry Fuel process can be used with biogas, flare gas and vent gas from the oil and gas industry, stranded gas, coal bed methane and conventional natural gas as well.
SHEC’s partners in the project are Giffels Associates Limited (Ingenium) and Clean 16 Environmental Technologies, working in conjunction with the University of Toronto Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry.
SHEC is also targeting solar-driven direct water splitting and biomass conversion as pathways to hydrogen production.