Thermocatalytic pyrolysis of methane: reactor engineering drives the hydrogen economy

25 January 2023 → 24 January 2026
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Engineering and technology
    • Heterogeneous catalysis
    • Reacting systems
    • Chemical kinetics and thermodynamics
    • Modelling, simulation and optimisation
    • Intensification
Heterogeneous catalysis Multiphase flow Multiscale modeling
Project description

This project will enable CO2 free hydrogen production by thermo-catalytic pyrolysis of methane from any renewable or fossil based methane source in a liquid catalyst system. The current main challenges, i.e. the purity and separation of the solid carbon product, the design of chemical reactor, a suitable liquid catalyst allowing operation at lower temperature, and avoiding CO2 emissions will be resolved in this project through a multiscale modeling approach together with experimental validation at the nano, micro and macro scale. Ab initio calculations will be performed to determine the pyrolysis reaction mechanisms for different catalyst systems including binary liquid metal catalysts, ternary liquid metal catalyst and molten salt catalyst designed based on the thermodynamic calculations. The kinetic data obtained from lab scale experiments will be used to validate the calculation results and to develop the initial kinetic model. Based on these results a kinetic model will be developed and integrated into LCT's OpenFOAM Computational Fluid dynamic framework, allowing to account for the reaction kinetics under more complex turbulent flow conditions. Finally, a novel vortex reactor will be designed to achieve a high process efficiency. This proposal focuses on fundamental research, attempting to supply deep insights into this promising technology to hydrogen economy.