Decomposition of Hydrogen Carriers

Sustainable energy is one of the major scientific and technological challenges of our times. Affordable and clean energy is defined also by the UNESCO as one of the goals for sustainable development that will accelerate the success of other goals such as climate action, and clean water and sanitation. This proposal responds to the challenge of developing energy in an effective and responsible manner by generating molecular hydrogen prior its utilisation in energy devices such as fuel cells and turbines. Hydrogen is considered a new fuel due to its high-energy content with clean products upon its utilisation, commonly water. The in-situ production of hydrogen mitigates problems related to its instability and transport as it is contained in H2-carriers molecules, i.e. stable molecules easily handled in aqueous solutions. We have selected H2-carriers inexpensive and of easily access facilitating a positive life-cycle analysis.

We will combine our interdisciplinary skills, ranging from computational chemistry, synthesis and scale-up to device implementation and life-cycle analysis, to develop and implement efficient catalysts for hydrogen evolution in combustion reactors as a proof for competent energy technology, supporting the recent UK energy security and environmental legislation.

Controlled Decomposition Scheme

The first goal of this challenging task is to prepare well-defined supported metal catalysts and understand their reactivity as a function of the intrinsic catalyst nature and reaction conditions. These will be tested under gas and aqueous phase conditions and in batch and flow reactors under a range of temperatures and concentration of reactants. Integrating these results in principal component analysis techniques will lead to determining key aspects dominating the synthesis and reactivity of well-defined catalysts. Performance experiments in this wide range of conditions will promote the understanding and rationalisation of the heterogeneous catalyst’s structure-activity-stability relationship. This knowledge will also stimulate other areas of catalysis in line with the government's strategic areas for competitiveness and advanced manufacturing for an economic effectiveness, especially for the UK as major export of chemicals. The second main goal is to design and optimised the catalysts and reactor to uplift the performance. The reusability of catalysts is a key factor to favour a comprehensive cycle analysis. Among factors such as reaction conversion and selectivity, stability and cost of the catalyst are also important to generate a sustainable technology to provide a constant flow of hydrogen on demand, e.g. in continuous flame with a negligible amount of pollutants.