Faculty Advisor

John M. Sullivan

Faculty Advisor

Nikolaos K. Kazantzis

Faculty Advisor

Yi Hua Ma

Faculty Advisor

William M. Clark

Faculty Advisor

David DiBiasio


A comprehensive process intensification analysis was performed for the integration of the Pd-based membrane reactor technology into IGCC power plants by designing effective process control strategies as well as identifying and optimally characterizing inherently safe operational conditions to achieve the most favorable economic outcomes. Experimental results indicated that Pd-based composite membranes supported on porous stainless steel tubes, fabricated with H2 permeance values as high as ~50 m3/[m2.h.atm0.5] at 450°C were capable of extra purity H2 production (≥99.99%). Two illustrative process control and performance monitoring cases namely, process regulation and servo mechanism, were considered and quite satisfactory process control was attained by maintaining CO conversion at levels higher than 95% so that the retentate stream could become suitable for high pressure CO2 sequestration. From a process safety standpoint, process parameters and operating conditions were identified and optimized to achieve the target performance level of 98% CO conversion and 95% H2 recovery and at the same time to prevent conditions which could potentially induce hazards and thus compromise process system safety. Furthermore, the average total product cost of a water-gas shift membrane reactor module including manufacturing costs and general expenses was carefully estimated by taking into account the full cost structure and found to be 1464 $/ft2. Moreover, a comprehensive economic assessment was performed for composite Pd/Alloy membrane reactor technology options integrated into IGCC power plants in the presence of market and regulatory uncertainty (possible regulatory action on CO2 emissions) as well as technology risks with the aid of Monte-Carlo simulation techniques. Within such a context, it was demonstrated that an IGCC plant with embedded Pd-based membrane reactors and a stream of revenues coming from electricity and H2 selling (IGCC co-production mode), represented an economically attractive and advantageous option when comparatively assessed against its main competitors namely, an IGCC plant with shift reactors and double stage Selexol units as well as the more traditional supercritical pulverized coal power plant option with an Econamine unit installed for CO2 capture purposes.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Chemical Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





IGCC, Pd/alloy-based Membrane Reactors, Process intensification, Water gas shift reaction, Hydrogen production, Process safety, Process economic analysis, Uncertainty, Net Present Value, Monte Carlo simulation