International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Vol.45, No.12, 7313-7338, 2020
Recent advances in membrane technologies for hydrogen purification
Planet Earth is facing accelerated global warming due to greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. The United Nations agreement at the Paris Climate Conference in 2015 highlighted the importance of reducing CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion. Hydrogen is a clean and efficient energy carrier and a hydrogen-based economy is now widely regarded as a potential solution for the future of energy security and sustainability. Although hydrogen can be produced from water electrolysis, economic reasons dictate that most of the H-2 produced worldwide, currently comes from the steam reforming of natural gas and this situation is set to continue in the foreseeable future. This production process delivers a H-2-rich mixture of gases from which H-2 needs to be purified up to the ultra-high purity levels required by fuel cells (99.97%). This driving force pushes for the development of newer H-2 purification technologies that can be highly selective and more energy efficient Palladium-based membranes than the traditional energy intensive processes of pressure swing adsorption and cryogenic distillation. Membrane technology appears as an obvious energy efficient alternative for producing the ultra-pure H-2 required for fuel cells. However, membrane technology for H-2 purification has still not reached the maturity level required for its ubiquitous industrial application. This review article covers the major aspects of the current research in membrane separation technology for H-2 purification, focusing on four major types of emerging membrane technologies (carbon molecular sieve membranes; ionic-liquid based membranes; palladium-based membranes and electrochemical hydrogen pumping membranes) and establishes a comparison between them in terms of advantages and limitations. (C) 2019 Hydrogen Energy Publications LLC. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords:Hydrogen purification;Carbon molecular sieve membranes;Ionic-liquid based membranes;Palladium-based membranes;Electrochemical hydrogen pumping membranes