Press release ¤ Information de presse

May 12, 2006

ACHEMA News: Oxygen and hydrogen transport membranes for fuels and chemicals

Dr. Anthony F. Sammells, Eltron Research Inc.
Plenary lecture, CongressCenter Messe Frankfurt, Room Spektrum
15 May 2006, 1.30 p.m.

More efficient technologies for power plants and the production of synthetic fuels from coal, gas or biomass are topics, which get more and more into the view of a broad public since the prices for oil are steadily rising. The prospects of an efficient use of fossil hydrocarbons and biomass to generate CO2-neutral hydrogen while sequestering the carbon dioxide formed, are markedly improved by so-called intermediate temperature hydrogen transport membranes developed by a research team of the US company Eltron Research, Boulder, Colorado.

In his plenary lecture titled "Oxygen and Hydrogen Transport Membranes for Fuels and Chemicals" held at ACHEMA on Monday, 15 May, at 1.30 p.m., Anthony F. Sammells, President of Eltron Research Inc. until recently, will report about the new hydrogen transport membranes.

The poreless composite membranes consist of a hydrogen-permeable metal and a ceramic binder component and operate in a temperature range from 350 to 450°C. Their hydrogen flows are one order of magnitude higher than those of the known palladium membranes with costs being two orders of magnitude lower. Moreover, they exhibit an extremely high mechanical stability. Operating tests have already been performed without degradation for thousands of hours at normal pressure and for hundreds of hours at differential pressures of up to 70 bar. Hydrogen flows of up to 80 normal cubic metres per square metre of membrane area and hour were obtained, and even 250 normal cubic metres per square metre and hour when purge gas was used for removing the hydrogen.

Apart from hydrogen generation, other potential applications of these membranes include dehydrogenation and coupling of short-chain alkanes and refinement of aromatics. This technology won the notable R&D 100 Award in November 2005. This prize is awarded annually by the R&D Magazine in the United States for the 100 latest products, technologies and processes of applied research.

Further information on the technology of poreless inorganic membranes for separating hydrogen and oxygen from gas mixtures will be reported in a book published by A.F. Sammells and M.V. Mundschau at Wiley-VCH in June this year.


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