Future large-scale production of H2 for use as a clean fuel will likely depend upon gasifying coal or biomass followed by steam reforming the resulting gas mixture and separating the CO2 byproduct. The process of steam reforming and CO2 separation can be greatly simplified by utilizing a new material that combines a reforming catalyst with a sorbent for CO2. Such a material was prepared in the form of small pellets with cores made of calcium and magnesium oxides and shells made largely of alumina impregnated with a nickel catalyst. Subsequent laboratory performance tests of the material showed that CO, CH4, and toluene, which are representative products of gasification, were largely converted to H2 by reacting the material with steam in the presence of the catalyst/sorbent, so that CO2 was absorbed as it was produced. The sorbent was easily regenerated by raising its temperature, which made it possible to reuse the catalyst/sorbent repeatedly.
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