Research Papers

Hydrogen Production by Solar Reforming of Natural Gas: A Comparison Study of Two Possible Process Configurations

[+] Author and Article Information
Stephan Möller

 DLR—German Aerospace Center, Pfaffenwaldring 38-40, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany

Dario Kaucic

 University of Flensburg, Germany

Christian Sattler

 DLR—German Aerospace Center, Cologne, Germany

J. Sol. Energy Eng 128(1), 16-23 (Jan 25, 2005) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2164447 History: Received April 28, 2004; Revised January 25, 2005

Solar steam reforming of natural gas (NG) is a possibility to lower the cost for introducing renewable hydrogen production technologies to the market by a combination of fossil fuel and solar energy. It comprises the production of hydrogen from NG and steam that acts as a chemical storage for hydrogen and solar energy as the renewable energy source to heat up the system and set free the hydrogen. Using the solar reformer technology fuel savings of up to 40% compared to a conventional plant are expected. The CO2 emissions can be reduced accordingly. The cost study shows that hydrogen produced by solar reforming might cost between 4.5 and 4.7ctkWh (LHV of H2) today. Therefore, it is only about 20% more expensive than conventionally produced hydrogen. Rising prices for NG will result in favorable conditions for the solar technology.

Copyright © 2006 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Solar tower test facility at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

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Figure 2

Cut through of a reformer module with flow scheme

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Figure 3

Temperature gradients of heat absorption for tubular and volumetric receivers

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Figure 4

Cluster of three reformer modules showing a honeycomb

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Figure 5

Flow chart of process SMR 3.0

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Figure 6

Flow chart for SMR 1.5

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Figure 7

Comparison of HPC of the conventional process and of the solar reforming process depending on the NG price; source for the NG price is (23), conversion is 1€=1.2 US$.



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