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Process to Produce Ammonia Using Proton Conducting Membrane

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000032924D
Publication Date: 2004-Nov-18
Document File: 2 page(s) / 17K

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Process to Produce Ammonia Using Proton Conducting Membrane

EP0972855 detailed the use of a hydrogen-conducting solid electrolyte membrane in the

production of ammonia[1]. The idea disclosed here combines a proton conducting membrane reactor with a steam methane reformer to produce ammonia in a single unit operation. The reactor offers the benefit of operating without the very high pressures of a conventional ammonia production process.

Refer to Figure 1. Natural gas is heated in a flue gas duct, then combined with steam. The natural gas and steam are then fed to an adiabatic pre-reformer. The partially reformed gas is then heated in the flue gas duct, then fed to the natural gas side of the ceramic membrane reactor.  Nitrogen produced by air separation is heated in the flue gas duct, then fed to the nitrogen side of the reactor.

The ceramic membrane reactor is shown in Figure 2.  Hydrogen is produced by the endothermic reforming of methane with steam and/ or carbon dioxide. The hydrogen permeates electrochemically through a proton-conducting membrane in the reactor from the natural gas side to the nitrogen side, where it reacts exothermically with the nitrogen to form a product ammonia stream, with some residual nitrogen. The permeation of the hydrogen from the natural gas side of the reactor favorably shifts the methane reforming equilibrium toward higher conversions of methane, thereby reducing the temperature and pressure from the levels used in conventional steam meth...