Konstantinos Banos. Foto | Redactie Cursor

CursorOnTour@CE&C | Looking for a more efficient hydrogen production from biogas

“We need to protect our planet and use less fossil fuels,” says master’s student of Chemical Engineering Konstantinos Banos. And he would gladly do his share. How? By contributing to a more efficient and less costly production of hydrogen from biogas. The latter is an especially significant challenge.

photo Redactie Cursor

Banos, who is from Greece, shows the installation he is working on in the lab on the ground floor of Helix. The installation seems quite large at first glance, but in fact, it is smaller than usual. “Normally, you need several vessels, and now just one. Our technique generates hydrogen and separates surplus substances in one turn.”

Hydrogen is a ‘clean fuel,’ but the production procedure is still relatively inefficient – it is costly, and producing biogas can have an impact on the environment.

“Look,” Banos says as he points to the left side of the installation, “the biogas flows through these small tubes.” The researchers made this gas themselves, an imitation of ‘real’ biogas, which is usually made from waste. It enters into palladium-based membrane tubes, which has many advantages. “Palladium has a ‘high selectivity’ for hydrogen production,” Banos explains.

The major disadvantage of palladium though, is that it is expensive. “The challenge is to find the most efficient reactor configuration to further decrease the costs,” Banos says.

Banos believes that in the future, hydrogen will be produced in a cost-efficient and sustainable manner. But first up: graduation. He expects to complete his studies next month.

This article is part of the special CursorOnTour@CE&C series, with on-site reporting, this time from the department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry.

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