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Unitel to advise on construction of hydrogen plant

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Unitel Technologies, Inc. has announced that it has been engaged by a major Southeast Asian conglomerate to supply its technology and engineering know-how for the construction, startup and operation of an onsite Unitel M2H (1000 Nm3/hr) production system and a downstream hydrogen sulfide plant. The balance of the hydrogen will be used for other applications.

Using methanol to make hydrogen for decentralised operations is a sensible option when pipeline natural gas or LPG are not readily available. Methanol is an internationally traded liquid product that can be easily transported to remote points of use by truck or train. Its low cost and availability make it an attractive energy vector. “Unitel’s M2H 1000 represents a significant departure from the conventional natural gas reforming process,” says Serge Randhava, CEO of Unitel. “In addition to selective supply chain advantages, lower capital and operating costs are the most visible benefits,” he adds. At this scale, some other pluses of the Unitel M2H 1000 design versus conventional natural gas steam reforming are:

  • Higher overall efficiency.
  • Simpler metallurgy without any exotic materials.
  • Internal heat generation in lieu of indirect heat transfer.
  • Rapid startup.
  • Faster dynamic response and better turnup and turndown capabilities.
  • Reduced NOx emission problems.

Small scale self-contained hydrogen plants offer a sensible substitute to piped hydrogen and tube trailers for a variety of low volume applications in industries such as electronics, steel, food, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and glass. Hydrogen fuelling and fuel cells are also likely future uses.

The heart of the M2H 1000 process consists of an oil-heated multi-tube methanol reformer. A controlled mixture of methanol and demineralised water is pumped into the top of the reformer. The hydrogen rich synthesis gas is fed into a multi-column pressure swing adsorption (PSA) unit to yield 99.99% pure hydrogen.

Adapted from press release by Francesca Brindle

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