Development of a novel metal monolith catalyst for natural gas steam reforming
Production of hydrogen from natural gas is the most cost-effective and simplest technology for commercial hydrogen generation. Natural gas is also a likely source of hydrogen for residential fuel cell systems, due to its wide availability and ease of conversion via steam methane reforming. Although catalyst technology is available for generating hydrogen from natural gas, the design of new catalysts and new catalytic supports to overcome the limitations associated with ceramic catalyst provides an opportunity to make the conversion of natural gas to hydrogen more cost-effective. In the present study, the performance of Ni-Rh/Al2O3-CeO2-ZrO2, Ni-Rh/-Al2O3, and Ni-Pd/-Al2O3 catalysts were quantitatively evaluated in terms of activity and stability using appropriate kinetic models. Catalysts were tested as powders and supported on metal foil. Results proved rhodium to be a better active agent than palladium, and catalyst activity was found to increase with the increase in rhodium loading at both atmospheric and elevated pressures. -Al2O3 supported rhodium catalysts exhibited a better performance at a much lower rhodium loading than the Al2O3-CeO2-ZrO2 supported catalysts. Mass and heat transfer advantages of the metallic support over the powder form were also established by studying the performance of this catalyst in both forms to demonstrate the potential for the use of metal structured support to achieve commercially relevant hydrogen production targets at lower residence times.