Analysis to develop hydrogen production from bio-oils

R. C. Ciocci, I. Abu-Mahfouz, S. S.E.H. Elnashaie

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The United States economy's dependence on fossil fuels has historical significance but lacks vision for a long-lasting fuel consumption policy. Political complications, economic instabilities, supply shortages, and continued pollution contributions pose significant obstacles to continued reliance on oil. Alternative technologies based on renewable resources offer much more promise for a sustainable approach to meeting global energy needs. Recent research and applications have established hydrogen as a viable clean fuel source. Those applications, including fuel cells, have shown promise for the eventual migration from a fossil-fuel economy to one based on renewable energy sources. Air pollution, specifically contributions to greenhouse gases, is a major environmental hazard due to the use of fossil fuel-related hydrocarbons for fuel and industrial applications. An alternative, hydrogen, offers significant advantages as an ultra-clean fuel of the future when it is burned directly or processed through fuel cells. Currently, the main process for hydrogen production is catalytic steam reforming of natural gas. This process is relatively inefficient and does not allow the use of a wide range of feedstock materials including renewable sources. The objective of impending research is to develop this new, ultra-clean and efficient process, which converts a wide range of hydrocarbons, including renewable bio-oils, into pure hydrogen suitable for fuel cells and which also converts CO2 emission into syngas. The main impact is clearly on air pollution and global warming through the minimization of greenhouse gas emission and the economical production of pure hydrogen to foster the hydrogen economy. This new process will achieve considerable increase in hydrogen productivity and considerable decrease in the energy consumed to produce it. The technology will center on a circulating fluidized bed (CFB) that will separate hydrogen from bio-oils in an efficient process that greatly reduces polluting hydrocarbons compared to traditional fossil fuel processing. Early studies will include the mathematical modeling of computational fluid dynamics to identify process parameters. Eventually, a pilot plant will be used to verify/modify the mathematical model, for a wide range of conditions and renewable feedstocks. Testing the pilot plant will lead to the development of reliable design equations suitable for replication, build, and tight control of this novel process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE 2007
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 2008
EventASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE 2007 - Seattle, WA, United States
Duration: Nov 11 2007Nov 15 2007

Publication series

NameASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Proceedings


OtherASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE 2007
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySeattle, WA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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