The ‘hydrogen economy’ has received considerable attention in academic, industrial and political contexts. There are opportunities for vast reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, increased energy security and greater overall efficiency. However, if hydrogen is to become a fundamental energy source for electrical power generation, as well as a transportation fuel, novel generation pathways will be necessary to meet the increase in demand. A promising means for generating hydrogen is the thermochemical conversion of biomass to a synthesis gas, composed of a mixture of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and methane. In order to manipulate the composition and maximise the hydrogen output, a calcium-based carbon dioxide sorbent can be utilised in situ. The removal of carbon dioxide alters the reaction chemistry to preferentially produce hydrogen. In this work we report on the characterisation of a likely Ca-based carbon dioxide sorbent and demonstrate the merits of hydrogen production from biomass, with in situ carbon dioxide capture, on the basis of a thermodynamic study. Using this model we show that hydrogen output from biomass gasification can be increased from 40%-vol to 80%-vol (dry basis) when a carbon dioxide sorbent is used.
KeywordsCO2 sorbent Gasification Hydrogen production and renewable energy
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