Hydrogen is an important future energy carrier and heavily needed in hydrogenation processes in the chemical industry. Traditionally, it is produced by steam methane reforming (SMR) over a Ni/Al2O3 catalyst using differently shaped mm-sized particles. However, these catalysts often deactivate due to unwanted coke formation and metal sintering, and also lack flexibility for deployment in smaller reactors, which is desirable when using e.g. biomethane streams.
In my research, honeycomb-type catalyst materials (often used in automotive industry) loaded with platinum group metals (PGM) are explored to improve compatibility with smaller reactors. The goal is to develop in situ and operando techniques to monitor coke formation and metal sintering during SMR to gain a better understanding of deactivation processes. This ultimately leads to improved catalyst compositions and reaction conditions, and reveals reactor influences for hydrogen production via steam methane reforming.