Molten Salt Gasification (MSG) of Refinery Wastes to Produce Hydrogen

Accelerating Fossil Energy Technology Development Through Integrated Computation and Experimentation
AIChE Annual Meeting
October 31, 2012 - 10:00am-10:15am
Western Hydrogen Limited is developing a process called Molten Salt Catalyzed Gasification (MSG) that allows the production of high-pressure synthesis gas at ~138 bar (~2000 psig) or higher without the need for compression. This makes the process very efficient since the compression of synthesis gas can require a significant amount of energy. The very high thermal efficiency (i.e. theoretical 86%, expected 61%) of the process results in efficient use of resources and a low per unit cost for the synthesis gas produced. This project will use a mixture of algae and water.

The aggressiveness of the MSG molten salt reaction will decompose any carbon-bearing material into a gaseous stream. The reactions can be operated at pressure by simple pressurization of the input water stream and feedstock. The MSG process occurs at pressure in a single reactor but occurs in three steps: 1) reaction of sodium carbonate with water and carbon generating sodium, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen; 2) instantaneous reaction of sodium with water generating sodium hydroxide and hydrogen; and 3) reaction of sodium hydroxide with carbon and water generating sodium carbonate and hydrogen. Experimental data indicates the feed stock ratios can be adjusted so the net of the reactions can be either slightly exothermic or slightly endothermic. The output can be adjusted by changing the operating conditions to generate hydrogen, synthesis gas, or methane.  The net chemical reactions with the system operated for synthesis gas are shown below.

Na2CO3 + 3 C + H2O -- > 2 Na + 4 CO + H2     Equation 1

2 Na + 2 H2O --> H2 + 2 NaOH                      Equation 2

2 NaOH + C + H2O --> Na2CO3 + 2 H2          Equation 3


The paper will discuss the status of the technology and show data from the laboratory experiments and discuss the status of the pilot plant currently in fabrication.

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