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Hydrogen production by catalytic reforming for a new generation of solid oxide fuel cells directly operating with biogas at intermediate temperatures


The project is based upon the catalytic production of hydrogen directly on the anode of a solid oxide fuel cell fed with biogas for electricity generation.

The originality of the concept is to couple the biological production of biogas from wastes and the use of the clean Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) technology (only carbon dioxide and water are emitted from fuel cells).

The main advantage is to associate the use of renewable energy, which is an important issue for sustainable development, and an environmentally friendly technology.

The project is part of a larger multidisciplinary project, which is currently already being developed in association with other laboratories from university and industry, with the financial support of French governmental institutions (Agence Nationale pour la Recherche, Région Rhône Alpes).

Biogas, which is mainly composed of methane, carbon dioxide and water, must be reformed into hydrogen at the anode. For proper operation, the catalyst must absolutely avoid carbon formation, which is the main issue of currently used catalysts (Ni).

Some perovskite type catalysts prepared in the lab did already show promising properties for the application, being highly resistant to carbon deposition. In view of optimising catalyst composition and operating conditions, the present work will aim at assessing catalytic and physicochemical properties of these new materials and their durability.

A special effort will be devoted to better understand the reaction pathway and to determine kinetic constants by coupling advanced techniques such as transient isotopic experiments with quadrupole detection, operando FTIR and/or DRIFT spectroscopy.

The resistance of the anode material against poisoning by sulphur containing species (present as traces in biogas) will be addressed. Solutions to improve this property will be targeted if necessary. Alternatively a desulphurization unit will be used to overcome this severe issue of sulphur resistance.

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43 Bld Du 11 Novembre 1918