A performance evaluation of a microchannel reactor for the production of hydrogen from formic acid for electrochemical energy applications

Isabella M. Ndlovu, Raymond C. Everson, Steven Chiuta, Hein W.J.P. Neomagus, Henrietta W. Langmi, Jianwei Ren, Nicolaas Engelbrecht, Dmitri G. Bessarabov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

An experimental evaluation of a microchannel reactor was completed to assess the reactor performance for the catalytic decomposition of vaporised formic acid (FA) for H2 production. Initially, X-ray powder diffraction (XRD), elemental mapping using SEM-EDS and BET surface area measurements were done to characterise the commercial Au/Al2O3 catalyst. The reactor was evaluated using pure (99.99%) and diluted (50/50 vol.%) FA at reactor temperatures of 250-350°C and inlet vapour flow rates of 12-48 mL.min-1. Satisfactory reactor performance was demonstrated at 350°C as near-equilibrium FA conversion (> 98%) was obtained for all flow rates investigated. The best operating point was identified as 350°C and 48 mL.min-1 (pure FA feed) with a H2 yield of 68.7%. At these conditions the reactor performed well in comparison to conventional systems, achieving a H2 production rate of 11.8 NL.gcat-1.h-1. This paper therefore highlights important considerations for ongoing design and development of microchannel reactors for the decomposition of FA for H2 production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-497
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Electrochemical Science
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Au/AlO catalyst
  • Formic acid decomposition
  • Fuel cell application
  • Hydrogen production
  • Microchannel reactor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrochemistry

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