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Apparatus and process for production of high purity hydrogen

The invention relates to a new and improved process and apparatus for the production of high purity hydrogen by steam reforming. The apparatus is an integrated flameless distributed combustion-membrane steam reforming (FDC-MSR) or reactor for steam reforming of a vaporizable hydrocarbon to produce H2 and CO2, with minimal CO, and minimal CO in the H2 stream. The flameless distributed combustion drives the steam reforming reaction which pro-vides great improvements in heat exchange efficiency and load following capabilities. The reactor may contain multiple flameless distributed combustion chambers and multiple hydrogen-selective, hydrogen-permeable, membrane tubes. The feed and reaction gases may flow through the reactor either radially or axially. A further embodiment of the invention involves producing high purity hydrogen by dehydrogenation using an integrated FDC-membrane de-hydrogenation reactor. A still further embodiment of the invention involves a zero emission hybrid power system wherein the produced hydrogen is used to power a high-pressure internally manifolded molten carbonate fuel cell. In addition, the design of the FDC-SMR powered fuel cell makes it possible to capture good concentrations of CO2 for sequestration or use in other processes.
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