International Scientific Journal

Thermal Science - Online First

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Hydrogen production by thermal cracking of natural gas - test facility

Hydrogen is an energy carrier which makes a decisive contribution for future energy transition. Over 90% of Hydrogen is produced currently from primary fossil fuels with high CO2-emissions. Methane cracking is intensively developing, as the storage or using of solid carbon is easier and more attractive than Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS). The process without catalysts is simpler, but requires higher temperatures. Main objective of the test was to show the viability for industrial applications. The test facility consists of two columns (for reversible operation) filled with pebble-bed and a connecting horizontal part. The cracking process takes place at the highest temperature zone, which is the upper pebble-bed and the connecting pipe. The required reaction energy is supplied by adding Oxygen to burn small amount of Hydrogen. Sensible heat of product gas is stored in the pebble-bed and cold gas goes out. The product gas is further cooled and the condensate flows in a drain vessel. The capacity of the facility was 2 - 4 m3STP/h of Methane, with corresponding residence time between 0.5 - 2 seconds. To compare the quality of those results, the Hydrogen yield was evaluated. The highest yields have been achieved at temperature above 1500°C, with a maximum value of 94.9%, what is considerably better than results achieved in other test facilities for cracking using catalysts (yield 78% at 1175°C). The comparison shows important advantages of high temperature processes without catalyst. The cracking process at 1500°C is a simpler and more effective way to reach industrialization of that technology.
PAPER REVISED: 2024-02-19
PAPER ACCEPTED: 2024-04-15
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