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How does a steam reforming catalyst work?

How does a steam reforming catalyst work?

Update Time:2024/3/7

How does a steam reforming catalyst work?

A steam reforming catalyst works by facilitating the chemical reaction between steam (H2O) and hydrocarbons, typically methane (CH4), to produce synthesis gas (syngas) consisting of hydrogen (H2) and carbon monoxide (CO). This process, known as steam reforming or steam methane reforming (SMR), occurs at high temperatures and in the presence of a catalyst, often nickel-based catalyst.

The catalyst promotes the breaking of carbon-hydrogen bonds in the methane molecule, allowing hydrogen atoms to combine with steam to form hydrogen gas (H2) and carbon atoms to react with oxygen to form carbon monoxide (CO). This reaction is highly endothermic, requiring a significant input of heat to drive it forward.

The steam reforming catalyst enhances the efficiency of the reaction by providing active sites where the methane molecules can adsorb, dissociate, and react with steam. Additionally, the catalyst helps prevent unwanted side reactions and the formation of carbon deposits (coking) on the catalyst surface, which can deactivate the catalyst over time.

Overall, the steam reforming catalyst plays a crucial role in the production of hydrogen and syngas, which are essential feedstocks for various industrial processes, including ammonia synthesis, methanol production, and hydrocarbon processing.
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