Monday, October 17th Luncheon Meeting Homepage

October Meeting: Ultra Clean Hydrogen From Biomass to Generate Combined Heat and Power using Fuel Cells
Pasted Graphic 1 Pasted Graphic 2
Sources: Fuel Cell - IRTT. Chart, Combined Heat & Power as Percent of Power Production, - Recycled Energy Development.

: Monday, October 17th, 11:30 am - 2:00 pm

Where: Stony Brook University, Old Engineering Building, Room 231 or 232 (Note: Also, refered to as Engineering Building) Info

Speaker: Dr. Hazem Tawfik, Director of the Institute of Research and Technology Transfer (IRTT) at Farmingdale State College - State University of New York

Dr. Tawfik is a P.E. and a Certified Manufacturing Engineer. He is also SUNY Distinguished Service Professor at Farmingdale State College. In addition, he is a Guest Scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and an Adjunct Professor in the Materials Science and Engineering Dept. at Stony Brook University.

Topic: The Production of Ultra Pure Hydrogen from Biomass to Power Fuel Cells For the Generation of Combined Heat and Power

Abstract: (Co-authors: S. Charumaneeroj, A. Periera, D. Weinman, and D. Mahajan)

Biomass has an excellent potential for economic viability as a renewable source of energy that can produce ultra clean hydrogen to power fuel cells and produce combined heat and electric power (CHP). Accordingly, considerable attention is given to coupling both biomass and fuel cell systems.

It is known that very small amount of the carbon monoxide (CO) present in the synthesis gas (syngas) that is produced from biomass will be detrimental to the membranes used in the hydrogen purifier as well as to the catalyst of the proton exchange membrane (PEM) used in the fuel cells. The objective of this project is to produce hydrogen with 99.9999% purity (CO < 10 ppm) for utilization in a PEM fuel cells.

Syngas from the gasifier is first processed using the water-gas-shift (WGS) reaction to reduce CO to a lower concentration levels. WGS uses specific catalysts with water to reduce CO while an equivalent amount of moles of hydrogen is additionally produced.

The current program consists of two projects focusing on CO removal. The goal of the first project is to reduce CO to < 4-6% in the WGS exit stream, while the second project aimed to reduce CO in the exit stream to < 10 ppm using a palladium-membrane purifier. Two small scale WGS reactors with copper zinc oxide as a catalyst were used -- namely packed bed and fluidized bed (suspend the catalyst in Ethylflo-164 oil) reactors. They were able to reduce CO from 34% to levels of 12% and 3.4%, respectively, at 225°C.

This work was complemented by the evaluation of hydrogen-separation capability of a palladium membrane system from syngas that consists of a number of gases. A simulated syngas composed of 6% CO and 94% hydrogen was selected as a feed to the membrane with a goal to reduce CO to < 10 ppm. The reaction parameters tested included operation temperature, feed pressure, and the vent flow rate of pure hydrogen. The results showed that the optimal hydrogen flux conditions occurred when the palladium membrane was operated at 300°C, using a feed pressure of 80 psig and a vent flow rate of 150 ml/min. Gas chromatography was used to determine the purity of the simulated feed and exiting gas that establish the effectiveness of the palladium membrane. Repeated results showed that when CO concentration was measured to read 15%, upstream the membrane in the vent purge flow, an absence of CO or (CO < 10 ppm) was noted downstream from the membrane.

The reproducibility of these results suggests that a scaled-up system can be effectively designed for hydrogen to power PEM fuel cells, which can be used in multiple applications for military and civilian purposes.

Pasted Graphic 1 Bio: Dr. Hazem Tawfik obtained his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Waterloo (Waterloo, ON, Canada) in 1980. Since then he has held a number of industrial and academic positions. These include Brookhaven National Laboratory, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Stony Brook University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Atomic Energy of Canada, Ontario Hydro, the NASA Kennedy and NASA Marshall Space Flight Centers, and the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center.

Dr. Tawfik is the author of more than 55 research papers, published in peer-reviewed journals, and conference symposiums. He holds numerous research awards and shares the rights to four patents in the Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cells area. Currently, Dr. Tawfik is a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor and the Director of the Institute for Research and Technology Transfer at Farmingdale State College of SUNY.

Costs: Free, but you must pre-register before Thursday, October 13th, 4 pm. After that deadline, $25; $30 at the door.

Reserve Now:
Please reserve by Thursday, October 13th (4 pm). RSVP: or call 917-684-1659 to reserve.