Compact hollow fibre reactors for efficient methane conversion

Nicholaus Prasetya, Zhentao Wu, Ana Gouveia Gil, K. Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, a micro-structured catalytic hollow fiber membrane reactor (CHFMR) has been prepared, characterized and evaluated for performing steam methane reforming (SMR) reaction, using Rh/CeO2 as the catalyst and a palladium membrane for separating hydrogen from the reaction. Preliminary studies on a catalytic hollow fiber (CHF), a porous membrane reactor configuration without the palladium membrane, revealed that stable methane conversions reaching equilibrium values can be achieved, using approximately 36mg of 2wt.%Rh/CeO2 catalyst incorporated inside the micro-channels of alumina hollow fibre substrates (around 7cm long in the reaction zone). This proves the advantages of efficiently utilizing catalysts in such a way, such as significantly reduced external mass transfer resistance when compared with conventional packed bed reactors. It is interesting to observe catalyst deactivation in CHF when the quantity of catalyst incorporated is less than 36mg, although the Rh/CeO2 catalyst supposes to be quite resistant against carbon formation. The "shift" phenomenon expected in CHFMR was not observed by using 100mg of 2wt.%Rh/CeO2 catalyst, mainly due to the less desired catalyst packing at the presence of the dense Pd separating layer. Problems of this type were solved by using 100mg of 4wt.% Rh/CeO2 as the catalyst in CHFMR, resulting in methane conversion surpassing the equilibrium conversions and no detectable deactivation of the catalyst. As a result, the improved methodology of incorporating catalyst into the micro-channels of CHFMR is the key to a more efficient membrane reactor design of this type, for both the SMR in this study and the other catalytic reforming reactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5281-5287
JournalJournal of the European Ceramic Society
Issue number16
Early online date14 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

Bibliographical note

Crown Copyright © 2017 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BYlicense (

Funding: Indonesia Endowment Fund forEducation (scholarship); and EPSRC (EP/J014974/1).


  • catalyst
  • catalytic hollow fiber
  • membrane reactor
  • methane conversion
  • rhodium


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