CETRi is actively researching and demonstrating Hydrogen Energy and Synthesis Gas (Syngas) Technologies.
Hydrogen Energy and Syngas techonologies involve the use of fossil fuel, biomass and oxygenated hydrocarbon to produce hydrogen and/or syngas, using captured CO2. Hydrogen produced through this process is ultimately used as an energy carrier, a fuel, or for the production of chemicals. Syngas produced through this process is used in the Gas-to-liquids (GTL) process if the fossil fuel is natural gas, stranded gas or biogas, or in the Coal-to-liquids (CTL) process if coal is used, to produce synthetic liquid fuels and chemicals. CETRi is developing and demonstrating both the catalysts and process for producing hydrogen and syngas by the CO2 reforming of natural gas, stranded gas and biogas. CETRi is also developing feed flexible and process flexible catalysts for producing hydrogen and syngas from a wide range of sources, including fossil fuel, biomass and oxygenated hydrocarbon sources, using captured CO2.
The conventional method currently used to produce syngas is the partial oxidation of natural gas. In this process, one of the steps is to separate nitrogen from air in order to obtain a relatively pure stream of oxygen for the partial oxidation process. This separation step is expensive. In CETRi, we have circumvented this step by developing a catalytic reforming process for natural gas/biogas/stranded gas that uses only CO2, in which case, the need for oxygen, and therefore air separation, is completely eliminated. The advantages associated with the CO2 reforming process are that (1) it can utilize the CO2 captured from a power plant or other large point sources as feed; (2) it is the most suitable approach for natural-gas fields where there is an abundance of CO2; (3) it can be employed in areas where water is not readily available; and (4) it is highly effective in resolving the problems associated with the transportation of natural gas to remote areas and petroleum fields, as it is cheaper and easier to transport liquids than gases. The use of CO2 for reforming also obviates the need to remove CO2 from raw natural gas because the CO2 is needed as a co-feed for the reforming process. Also, the CO2 reforming process allows for plant scalability because there is no need to build a steam making facility or an air separation facility, implying that small syngas production plants can be can be designed and constructed that are cost effective.