...and a Ni-based syngas catalyst promises
to slash reformer size and costs
Keiichi Tomishige, an associate professor at University of Tsukuba
(www.ims.tsukuha.ac.jp), has developed a new high-performance catalyst for the highly efficient production of syngas,
with support from the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (Kawasaki, both Japan).
The nickel-based catalyst is selectively impregnated with small amounts of precious metals (Pt, Pd and Rh) on the surface.
By performing the impregnation sequentially, rather than by conventional co-impregnation, Tomishige is able to control the
structure of bi-metallic (Ni and precious metal) particles on the surface. This leads to active sites that accelerate both
exotherrnlc and endothermic reactions, resulting in the suppression of hot spots and carbon formation. The catalyst is also
less prone to deactivation by oxidation of Ni, he says.
Because of the enhanced reactivity, Tomishige estimates that reformers operating with the new catalyst can be one-fourth
the size of a conventional reformer with the same production capacity. And the cost of the catalyst is expected to be
significantly lower due to the use of predominantly nickel with reduced amounts of precious metals.
The researchers are planning to scale up their work and apply the catalyst technology to the oxidative-reforming of other
hydrocarbon feeds, such as city gas, gasoline, methanol and kerosene, with the aim to produce H2 for fuel cells.