(780c) Solar Thermochemical Methane Reforming Using Metal Oxide Oxygen Exchange Materials
Methane reforming is a mature industrial process that is still heavily leveraged in modern energy infrastructure. For instance, 95% of the hydrogen produced in the United States is made via methane reforming processes. These processes are highly endothermic and typically take place at 700â1100Â°C in the presence of a catalyst. Natural gas reforming processes, coupled with the high-energy/high-temperature process conditions, will continue to be a major pathway for fuels and commodities for the near future, which provides motivation to investigate solar-driven alternative process routes. Methane steam reforming, methane dry reforming, and methane partial oxidation are all processes that can leverage high-temperature solar energy to simultaneously alleviate economic and environmental impacts. These processes also achieve increased energy efficiency in the conversion of methane, the primary component of natural gas, to value-added commodities such as syngas, fuels, or ammonia. The catalytic materials used in methane reforming are typically Ni-based metals on a support structure. Although these active materials can be effective, they often suffer from deactivation, coking, sulfur poisoning, and oxidation. For this reason, this work investigates the use of metal oxide oxygen exchange materials that function as two-step redox cycle engines for the methane reforming application. Additionally, the viability of using Ni and Co-doped iron oxide materials for continuous, solar-driven methane reforming processes is explored in detail.