Techno-Economic Assessment in a Fluidized Bed Membrane Reactor for Small-Scale H2 Production: Effect of Membrane Support Thickness

Membranes (Basel). 2019 Sep 6;9(9):116. doi: 10.3390/membranes9090116.


This paper investigates the influence of the support material and its thickness on the hydrogen flux in Palladium membranes in the presence of sweep gas in fluidized bed membrane reactors. The analysis is performed considering both ceramic and metallic supports with different properties. In general, ceramic supports are cheaper but suffer sealing problems, while metallic ones are more expensive but with much less sealing problems. Firstly, a preliminary analysis is performed to assess the impact of the support in the permeation flux, which shows that the membrane permeance can be halved when the H2 diffusion through the support is considered. The most relevant parameter which affects the permeation is the porosity over tortuosity ratio of the porous support. Afterward, the different supports are compared from an economic point of view when applied to a membrane reactor designed for 100 kg/day of hydrogen, using biogas as feedstock. The stainless steel supports have lower impact on the hydrogen permeation so the required membrane surface area is 2.6 m2 compared to 3.6 m2 of the best ceramic support. This ends up as 5.6 €/kg H2@20bar and 6.6 €/kg H2@700bar for the best stainless steel support, which is 3% lower than the price calculated for the best ceramic support.

Keywords: fluidized membrane reactor; hydrogen permeation; permeance.