New Mexico Patent of the Month – April 2023

Hydrogen gas is the most abundant element in the universe, and it is considered as a viable source of energy for vehicles and electricity production. The conversion of hydrocarbons into hydrogen gas is done through hydrogen generation reactions, such as steam methane reforming. However, this process is not energy efficient and emits carbon dioxide, which is detrimental to the environment. BayoTech Inc, a leading provider of modular hydrogen generation systems, has developed a low-emission hydrogen generation system that produces hydrogen from hydrocarbons, such as methane, through a steam methane reactor (SMR) and a water gas shift (WGS) reactor.

BayoTech’s SMR uses a bayonet flow path design that heats the incoming reactant fluid by transferring the recovered heat from the outgoing fluid. The SMR contains catalytic foam and heat transfer foam that facilitate heat transfer to the incoming reactant fluid and catalyze the hydrogen generation reaction. The product fluid from the SMR is then transferred to the WGS reactor. In the WGS reactor, the fluid flows through one or more WGS catalysts and one or more heat transfer materials that catalyze the hydrogen generation reaction and facilitate the removal of heat generated by the exothermic WGS hydrogen generation reaction.

One of the unique features of BayoTech’s low-emission hydrogen generation system is the use of heat transfer among fluid streams in the SMR, which enables energy-efficient production of hydrogen. The WGS reactor also includes a housing that defines a cooling fluid channel between the housing and the reaction tube of the WGS reactor. The outlet of the cooling fluid channel is in fluid communication with the inlet of the annular space of the SMR, enabling the cooling fluid heated by heat from the WGS hydrogen generation reaction to be provided as input into the SMR.

BayoTech’s SMR also includes an inner heat exchange foam that facilitates the heat transfer process. The WGS catalyst includes a foam with a WGS catalyst material disposed on the foam substrate. Additionally, the WGS catalyst includes a first and a second WGS catalyst that are configured to catalyze the hydrogen generation reaction in different temperature ranges. The heat transfer material disposed between the two WGS catalysts is foam.

BayoTech’s low-emission hydrogen generation system offers numerous benefits, including energy efficiency, low emissions, and modularity, making it ideal for small- to medium-scale hydrogen production. 

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