Pure Hydrogen from Ethanol via Integrated Micro-Membrane Networks

Date of Completion

January 2010


Engineering, Chemical




Integrated ceramic micro-channel membrane networks are a promising platform for coupling ethanol reforming reactions with hydrogen purification processes for high-purity hydrogen extraction from ethanol in a single compact device. Packing a ceramic micro-channel cartridge with reversible precision-machined distributors enables realization of complex integration architectures for maximum mass and/or heat transport rates. In order to realize such a device, existing thin film deposition and analysis technique must be modified to this unique substrate. Alumina supporting layers successfully applied within cordierite monolith channels by washcoating method to provide a robust and uniform substrate for thin-film deposition. Hydrogen-permselective palladium membranes (∼10µm) were deposited by electroless plating and the resulting membrane system was investigated over a region of expected impurity conditions. Porous catalytic reforming layers were then employed over the palladium membranes to confirm that high-purity hydrogen can be extracted from ethanol fuel using this novel reactor design. Finally, an appropriate fluid distributor was packaged with 5x5 membrane channels to evenly distribute two unique reforming and pure hydrogen fluids in parallel enabling process intensification within a single structure, and preliminary tests were performed to identify manufacturing challenges to scale-out. This thesis work produces a critical basis for the continual development of integrated ceramic micro-channel networks. ^