(439d) Hydrogen Generation Using Heavy Oil Feedstocks
TDA Research has developed a patented process to steam reform heavy hydrocarbon fractions from petroleum such as atmospheric and vacuum residuum over nickel-based steam reforming catalysts without catalyst deactivation (allowed application 14/698,541, "Process for Generating Hydrogen from Heavy Oil or Hydrocarbons"). The catalyst is not deactivated because it is continuously regenerated with air, which burns off coke. In an industrial process with circulating fluidized beds (CFB), the catalyst is continuously regenerated, but in our laboratory experiments, the fluidized bed of catalyst was regenerated after about 90-120 minutes of steam reforming by first purging the Incoloy 800H reactor with nitrogen (to eliminate residual fuel) and then switching to a preheated air feed. The laboratory scale steam reforming and catalyst regeneration are done at 50 psig and 850°C (1562°F). In this sense our process functions somewhat like a chemical looping steam reformer (CLR).