UKCCSRC Call 2 Project: Novel Materials and Reforming Processing Route for the Production of Ready-Separated CO2/N2/H2 from Natural Gas Feedstocks

Dataset description

The world's population is predicted to grow from the current 7 billions to a plateau of approximately 9.2 billions to be reached within the next 60 years, representing roughly a 30 % increase in a not so distant future. The need for more energy efficient methods of producing synthetic fertilisers to meet the resulting increases in food demand and in crude (and bio) oils refining operations -on crudes of ever poorer quality- motivates the scientific community to reconsider the limitations of the mature technologies of synthetic fertilisers production and hydro-refining processes (HDS, HDN, HDM, HDO, hydrocracking) which both rely on the supply of hydrogen. Synthetic fertilisers necessitate hydrogen and nitrogen as feedstocks to make ammonia, which represents the building block for other fertilisers such as urea or ammonium nitrate. The current cheapest and most common means of producing hydrogen is natural gas steam reforming. With an abundance of natural gas reserves becoming exploitable worldwide in recent years via the hydraulic fracturing of shale gas, and given the ever more severe regulations on atmospheric pollution caused by flaring of associated gas from refineries and oil extraction operations, the production of hydrogen is very likely to remain dominated in the years to come by the process of steam reforming using natural gas as its feedstock (aka 'steam methane reforming' or 'SMR'). Conventional SMR technology usually features many unit operations (desulphurisation, pre-reforming, primary reforming, furnace, high and low temperature water gas shift (HT-WGS, LT-WGS), and final separation, with as many heat integration steps in between the units in order to reach an energy efficiency of roughly 80%. This efficiency is only attainable thanks to economies of scale, and SMR plants are consequently enormous. To avoid storage and transport costs of H2, the ammonia/ammonium nitrate/urea plants, or refinery operations are usually conducted near the site of SMR, therefore the production of the final products of fertilisers or clean fuels is very centralised, and thus vulnerable, as well as incurring large distribution costs. With sources of natural gas becoming more remote, widely distributed, shorter lived and quickly relocated, the process of converting natural gas to the final products fertiliser/clean fuel should become more mobile, down-scaleable, as fracking gas wells see their production decay with time and move to different sites. This proposal seeks to reduce significantly the energy and materials demand for the conversion of natural gas feedstocks into ready separated streams of the H2, N2 and CO2 products of steam reforming (the building blocks of urea production) by coupling the in-situ high temperature CO2 capture during the reforming reactions on a solid sorbent (a process called 'sorption enhancement') with the process of chemical looping steam reforming. A process is proposed with only two reactors, a reformer and a pressure/temperature swing separator, appropriate for the new, mobile, small scale industrial utilisation of natural gas, through realising the multiple synergies that are unique to the coupled process, and through the avoidance of expensive materials and awkward reformer geometries. Grant number: UKCCSRC-C2-181.

Further information

For more information please contact:


Environmental Science Centre, Nicker Hill, Keyworth
NG12 5GG

Tel : +44 (0)115 936 3143
Fax :+44 (0)115 936 3276

Associated dataset(s)

Data associated with journal article 'Modelling of H2 production in a packed bed rector via sorption enhanced steam methane reforming process'. S Z Abbas, V Dupont, T Mahmud (2017).

Data associated with journal article 'Modelling of high purity H2 production via sorption enhanced chemical looping steam reforming of methane in a packed bed reactor'. Syed Zaheer Abbas, Valerie Dupont, Tariq Mahmud (2017)

UKCCSRC Call 2 Project C2-181 - Data associated with "Chemical equilibrium analysis of hydrogen production from shale gas using sorption enhanced chemical looping steam reforming" in Fuel Processing Technology

UKCCSRC Call 2 Project C2-181. Data for "Kinetics study and modelling of steam methane reforming process over a NiO/Al2O3 catalyst in an adiabatic packed bed reactor" in International Journal of Hydrogen Energy.

UKCCSRC Call 2 project poster: Novel Materials and Reforming Process Route for the Production of Ready-Separated CO2/N2/H2, CSLF Call project poster reception, London, 27.06.16

UKCCSRC Call 2 project poster: Novel Materials and Reforming Processing Route for the Production of Ready-Separated CO2/N2/H2, Cardiff Biannual, 10.09.14

Dataset details

Author(s) Valerie Dupont
Principal Investigator(s) Valerie Dupont
University of Leeds
Language English
Curator British Geological Survey
Supply media/format Not available
Storage format Not available
Frequency of update not applicable
Start of capture {ts '2014-09-01 00:00:00'} Not known
End of capture {ts '2016-08-01 00:00:00'} Before August 2016
Online access URL
Lineage statement UKCCSRC Call 2 project, grant number: UKCCSRC-C2-181, Lead institution: University of Leeds
Supplementary information
Access constraints intellectualPropertyRights (rights to financial benefit from and control of distribution of non-tangible property that is a result of creativity)
Use constraints intellectualPropertyRights (rights to financial benefit from and control of distribution of non-tangible property that is a result of creativity)
Additional info on constraints
Contact details
Department Enquiries
Organisation British Geological Survey
Address Environmental Science Centre, Nicker Hill, Keyworth
City Nottingham
County Nottinghamshire
Country United Kingdom
Postcode NG12 5GG
Telephone +44 (0)115 936 3143
Fax +44 (0)115 936 3276
Topic category code (ISO) geoscientificInformation (information pertaining to earth sciences)
Keyword source BGS Keyphrases
Spatial details
Spatial Reference System Not available
Dataset extent
Coverage (Lat/Long) North boundary : 
East boundary  : 
South boundary : 
West boundary  : 
Metadata language English
Metadata last updated 23rd June 2016
Metadata standard compliance NERC profile of ISO19115:2003
Copyright and IPR
The copyright of materials derived from the British Geological Survey's work is vested in the Natural Environment Research Council [NERC]. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a retrieval system of any nature, without the prior permission of the copyright holder, via the BGS Intellectual Property Rights Manager. Use by customers of information provided by the BGS, is at the customer's own risk. In view of the disparate sources of information at BGS's disposal, including such material donated to BGS, that BGS accepts in good faith as being accurate, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) gives no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the quality or accuracy of the information supplied, or to the information's suitability for any use. NERC/BGS accepts no liability whatever in respect of loss, damage, injury or other occurence however caused.