The Hydrogen Membrane Reformer (HMR) technology for gas power production with CO2 capture has been under development since 2001, financed by RCN and the Carbon Capture Project (CCP). The core technology of the HMR gas power cycle is the ceramic mixed conducting membrane, which separates two gas streams; natural gas/steam and air. In the first gas stream natural gas and steam are converted to syngas (H2, CO and CO2) by a steam reforming catalyst. The ceramic membrane transports a fraction of the formed hydrogen to the other side of the membrane where it reacts with oxygen, and produces the heat necessary for the endothermic steam reforming. The majority of the formed hydrogen remains in the syngas mixture, and may later be separated from CO2, and used as carbon free fuel in a gas power plant.
The HMR technology is now partly at a maturity level where piloting may be considered, but before entering into a pilot phase there are material related questions which have to be answered. The aim of the HMR material qualification is thereby to qualify the HMR mixed conducting membrane for a pilot decision. The questions are mainly related to stability, flux and steam reforming catalyst. The thermodynamic stability of the mixed conducting membrane will be addressed by subjecting the material to process conditions (1000 degrees C and 20 bar pressure at oxidizing and reducing conditions) and detect any phase changes by XRD. The hydrogen flux will be studied under process conditions in a high pressure test rig available in-house. Both membrane tubes and small membrane monoliths will be tested.
The same rig will be used for testing of the steam reforming catalyst performance under process conditions and to study the co-performance of the mixed conducting membrane an d the catalyst. Other topics are mechanical strength of the mixed conducting membrane material, shortening of membrane life-time due to evaporation and kinetic demixing in an oxygen gradient