Computational Investigation of Microreactor Configurations for Hydrogen Production from Formic Acid Decomposition Using a Pd/C Catalyst

Sanaa Hafeez, Sultan M. Al-Salem, Atul Bansode, Alberto Villa, Nikolaos Dimitratos, George Manos, Achilleas Constantinou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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The need to replace fossil fuels with sustainable alternatives has been a critical issue in recent years. Hydrogen fuel is a promising alternative to fossil fuels because of its wide availability and high energy density. For the very first time, novel microreactor configurations for the formic acid decomposition have been studied using computational modeling methodologies. The decomposition of formic acid using a commercial 5 wt % Pd/C catalyst, under mild conditions, has been assessed in packed bed, coated wall, and membrane microreactors. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) was utilized to develop the comprehensive heterogeneous microreactor models. The CFD modeling study begins with the development of a packed bed microreactor to validate the experimental work, subsequently followed by the theoretical development of novel microreactor configurations to perform further studies. Previous work using CFD modeling had predicted that the deactivation of the Pd/C catalyst was due to the production of the poisoning species CO during the reaction. The novel membrane microreactor facilitates the continuous removal of CO during the reaction, therefore prolonging the lifetime of the catalyst and enhancing the formic acid conversion by approximately 40% when compared to the other microreactor configurations. For all microreactors studied, the formic acid conversion increases as the temperature increases, and the liquid flow rate decreases. Further studies revealed that all microreactor configurations had negligible internal and external pore diffusion resistances. The detailed models developed in this work have provided an interesting insight into the intensification of the formic acid decomposition reaction over a Pd/C catalyst.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1655-1665
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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