Steam reforming of technical bioethanol for hydrogen production

Jeppe Rass-Hansen, Roger Johansson, Martin Hulbek Møller, Claus H. Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Essentially all work on ethanol steam reforming so far has been carried out using simulated bioethanol feedstocks, which means pure ethanol mixed with water. However, technical bioethanol consists of a lot of different components including sugars, which cannot be easily vaporized and steam reformed. For ethanol steam reforming to be of practical interest, it is important to avoid the energy-intensive purification steps to fuel grade ethanol. Therefore, it is imperative to analyze how technical bioethanol, with the relevant impurities, reacts during the steam reforming process. We show how three different distillation fractions of technical 2nd generation bioethanol, produced in a pilot plant, influence the performance of nickel- and ruthenium-based catalysts during steam reforming, and we discuss what is required to obtain high activity and long catalyst lifetime. We conclude that the use of technical bioethanol will result in a faster catalyst deactivation than what is observed when using pure ethanol-water mixtures because of contaminants remaining in the feed. However, the initial activity of the catalysts are not affected by this, hence it is important to not only focus on catalyst activity but rather on the lifetime of the catalyst.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number17
Pages (from-to)4547-4554
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Hydrogen production
  • Carbon depositions
  • Steam reforming
  • Bioethanol


Dive into the research topics of 'Steam reforming of technical bioethanol for hydrogen production'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this