Sugar steam reforming for hydrogen production

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Sushil Adhikari,, Sandun Fernando,, and Agus Haryanto, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Mississippi State University, 100 Moore Road, Mississippi State, MS 39762
There are several biomass based resources that have been closely looked at as potential sources for producing hydrogen. These include direct gasification of biomass and steam reforming of biobased derivatives such as ethanol and glycerin. The major hurdle with gasification is that biomass should be fairly dry and densified before introducing into a gasifier. Although steam reforming of renewable alcohols has been studied widely in recent times, there are several processing steps before biomass is converted to alcohols which make the process energy intensive and costly. An alternative way is to convert sugars to hydrogen directly. Production of hydrogen from sugar by catalytic reaction has been demonstrated by Dumesic and co-workers through aqueous phase reforming process. However, the process requires long reaction times and high pressures. Alternatively, this study focuses on catalytic steam reforming of sugar to produce hydrogen. Platinum group catalysts such as Rh/Al2O3, Pt/Al2O3, Pd/Al2O3 and Ir/Al2O3 are prepared by the incipient wetness technique and the hydrogen selectivity and sugar conversion are presented in the paper.