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CO2 capture options for SMR-based hydrogen units

Does Your Refinery Or Chemical Plant Have A Steam Methane Reforming (SMR) Based Hydrogen Manufacturing Unit (HMU)?  Are you under pressure to meet your carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions mandate?

Growing numbers of national governments and energy companies, including Shell, are announcing net-zero-emission ambitions. To help fulfil their responsibilities under the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, governments around the world are increasingly likely to penalise CO2 emissions.

Consequently, refiners and chemical plants have mandates to reduce their CO2 emissions substantially. For this, carbon capture, utilisation and storage is widely regarded as one of the most effective decarbonisation solutions.

An SMR-based HMU provides a major opportunity because it creates significant CO2 emissions that can be captured in two main ways:

- from the high-pressure, pre-combustion stream after the shift reactor before pressure swing adsorption line-up. This recovers less CO2 but has a lower capture cost per tonne of CO2.

- from the low-pressure, post-combustion flue gas. This maximises the amount of CO2 captured but requires a more expensive unit needing more space.

This paper/presentation will:

- examine the key elements of a typical HMU and explain the options for CO2 capture;

- conduct a cost–benefit comparison of installing pre- and post-combustion technologies at a typical HMU; and

- provide a real-world example from the Athabasca oil sands project in Canada, where Shell is capturing more than 1 Mt/y of CO2 from SMR streams and generating valuable lessons for future projects.

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