Development of advanced porous materials and processes for hydrogen/methane separation under the natural gas pipeline conditions

Hydrogen (H2) is the ultimate clean energy, and currently is primarily produced by steam reforming of hydrocarbons (mainly natural gas) and electrolysis. The high availability of surplus renewable electricity (from solar and wind) has enriched the source of renewable H2 significantly recently. The storage and distribution of H2 is a major challenge due to the difficulty of liquefaction. Existing natural gas pipelines have been suggested as a transport option as these are readily accessible and economical. However, the downstream separation of H2 from methane (CH4) requires novel technologies to be developed for pipeline usage to be feasible. This project joints the expertise of Melbourne and Manchester, aiming to develop efficient technologies based on novel porous materials (such as metal-organic frameworks, MOFs, and zeolites) and adsorption to separate H2 from H2/CH4 pipeline mixtures under realistic conditions at low temperatures, which contributes to the fundamental shift to ‘A Clean and Secure Energy Future’. The experimental project includes the synthesis and modification of novel porous materials, investigation on adsorption behaviours using the gravimetric and breakthrough methods and process development based on the materials developed.


The University of Melbourne: Kevin Gang Li and Guoping Hu.

University of Manchester: Xiaolei Fan and Flor Siperstein.