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CO2‑Free Hydrogen Production by Catalytic Pyrolysis of Hydrocarbon Feedstocks in Molten Ni–Bi

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journal contribution
posted on 25.11.2020, 22:04 by Clarke Palmer, Elaine Bunyan, John Gelinas, Michael J. Gordon, Horia Metiu, Eric W. McFarland
The catalytic decomposition of methane, propane, benzene, and crude petroleum was investigated between 900 and 1000 °C in molten metal bubble column reactors. The conversion to gas phase products and solid carbon was measured after introducing the gas phase reactants into a bubble column reactor containing a catalytic molten mixture of 27 mol % Ni and 73 mol % Bi. The conversions of propane, benzene, and crude oil are 100% at temperatures >950 °C at a reactor residence time of ∼1 s. Equilibrium selectivity of 100% H2 and carbon was not achieved in the short residence time, but can be achieved at longer residence times. The solid carbon products obtained from methane pyrolysis were more graphitic than those produced from the other, higher-molecular weight reactants; the latter were more amorphous, as measured by Raman spectroscopy and electron microscopy and resembled carbon black. A model is proposed for carbon formation in bubble column reactors, in which amorphous carbon products are derived from the gas-phase decomposition and graphitic carbon products are formed from dissolution and reprecipitation of carbon into and out of the molten metal.