Steam reforming of methane: Current states of catalyst design and process upgrading

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering


Methane (CH4) is the major component of currently abundant natural gas and a prominent green-house gas. Steam reforming of methane (SRM) is an important technology for the conversion of CH4 into H2 and syngas. To improve the catalytic activity and coking resistance of SRM catalysts, great efforts (including the addition of promoters, development of advanced supports, and structural modification, etc.) have been made with considerable progress in the past decade. Meanwhile, a series of novel processes have been explored for more efficient and energy-saving SRM. In this scenario, a comprehensive review on the recent advances in SRM is necessary to provide a constructive insight into the development of SRM technology, however, is still lacking. Herein, the improvements in catalyst construction for conventional SRM and the newly developed SRM processes in the past decade are presented and analyzed. First, the critical issues of SRM catalysts are briefly introduced. Then, the recent research advances of the most popular Ni based catalysts and the catalysts based on the other non-noble metals (Co, Cu, Mo etc.) and the efficient but costly noble metals (Au, Pt, Pd, Rh, Ru etc.) are discussed. Furthermore, the development of the representative modified SRM processes, including thermo-photo hybrid SRM, sorbent enhanced SRM, oxidative SRM, chemical looping SRM, plasma and electrical-field enhanced SRM, is demonstrated, and their advantages and limits are compared. Finally, a critical perspective is provided to enlighten future work on this significant area.

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Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews