G. Venugopal, N. Vylkov, K. Unfried, M. Sapp, A. Hunt
desulfurization, adsorption, hydrogen, catalyst, reformation
Energy R&D is being driven by concerns about global warming and air pollution largely attributed to pollutants from the burning of fossil fuels. While long-term energy strategies may call for the complete replacement of petroleum-based fuels, it is unreasonable to expect that this will happen in the next few decades. In the foreseeable future, it is more realistic to expect cleaner fossil fuel technologies to be developed alongside alternative fuel and energy technologies, such as nuclear, biofuels, wind and photovoltaic. nGimat has used its proprietary NanoSpray Combustion process for developing nanomaterials that have wide-ranging applications for generating cleaner burning petroleum fuels. These materials include nano-sorbents that can be used for adsorptive desulfurization of high-sulfur containing fuels and petroleum feedstock, and nano-catalysts for generating hydrogen gas from petroleum-based fuels. The latter could be used in reforming systems for on-board generation of hydrogen in fuel cells. In one version of the materials developed for these applications, the active sorbent and/or catalyst sites are distributed on the surface of a variety of nano-sized support structures containing materials like Zirconia or Ceria. This paper will discuss recent advances made at our company in optimizing these materials for each of these important areas.