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Ethanol Reforming

GH2 is the only commercial apparatus producing hydrogen by steam reforming of bio-fuels and especially ethanol (renewable hydrogen). Biofuels are environmentally friendly since they are totally renewable. They do not pollute and do not contribute to the build-up of CO2 in the atmosphere (CO2 is the major contributor to the green house effect that causes major climatic changes in our planet). The CO2 produced during the biofuels utilization is the same one as used by the plants for their growth in the biomass production phase. There is, then, a practically closed carbon cycle with no negative impact to the environment. Furthermore, biofuels can be produced locally, affecting positively the energy supply security balance.

Ethanol is an easily transportable, safe to handle and store, non-toxic liquid fuel that can be used everywhere since mishaps do not lead to significant environmental damage as is the case with oil. Ethanol is already a major fuel in Brazil and in the USA and is making its way to Europe. Its current price is significantly lower than that of gasoline on a heating value equivalent while it qualifies for CO2 credits.

HELBIO has developed the technology in terms of catalysts, reactors and processes for the efficient production of hydrogen from ethanol. The process can operate either in steam reforming or autothermal mode. The technology for ethanol steam reforming is incorporated in GH2.

Even though steam reforming is a more efficient process, there are times when the dynamics of the process are more important than the ultimate efficiency and autothermal reforming is the preferred mode of operation. Such is the case for mobile applications like APU’s and vehicle propulsion trains. HELBIO has developed advanced catalysts and reactors for autothermal reforming of ethanol for these applications.

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