Saturday, January 23, 2010

Producing Hydrogen from Landfill Using Solar Thermal Technology-Dry Reformation

Land fill sites will become very valuable properties indeed!
SHEC has been a world leader in clean renewable hydrogen research and is about to become one of the world leaders in hydrogen production with its innovative use of the sun’s energy to create hydrogen from landfill gas. Not only will SHEC create a valuable fuel source, but it will do so by using a form of renewable methane and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from landfill sites.

SHEC has constructed and demonstrated a Dry Fuel Reformation (DFR) system to produce hydrogen using methane that is powered primarily by sunlight-focusing mirrors. The system comprises a solar mirror array, an advanced solar concentrator, a shutter system to control the amount of radiant energy entering the reactor, and two thermo-catalytic reactors that will convert methane, carbon dioxide and water into hydrogen.
Methane from sources such as biogas, landfill gas, flare gas, stranded gas and coal-bed methane is recovered through a collection system consisting of a series of pipes in the ground. When using SHEC’s proprietary process and using renewable methane sources high purity hydrogen and commercial grade carbon dioxide are produced.
Renewable methane generated from biomass and converted to hydrogen using SHEC’s processes results in both a reduction in harmful methane gas entering the atmosphere (methane is 21x more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide) and provides significantly reduced carbon dioxide emissions over most traditional hydrogen production technologies.
Traditionally, hydrogen is produced by splitting the hydrogen molecules from fossil fuels. This process is a net energy user, as the energy needed to split the molecules often comes from electricity or natural gas.
SHEC’s process is unique because it not only diminishes greenhouse gasses by consuming the methane and carbon dioxide emitted by landfills, but uses the sun for the required process heat to drive the reaction that in turn provides a renewable source of energy and when the process uses sunlight, leads to a net energy gain.
The test facility in Arizona has shown that for every 1 m³ of methane feed produces approximately 3.9 m³ of hydrogen in the process. In energy terms 1 m³ of methane equals approximately 40 MJ of thermal energy and 3.9 m³ of hydrogen equals approximately 45.7 MJ of thermal energy, which is a net energy gain of over 14% for the demonstration unit. Read more.

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