Carbon Formation in the Reforming of Simulated Biomass Gasification Gas on Nickel and Rhodium Catalysts

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Biomass gasification gas contains hydrocarbons that must be converted to CO and H2 prior to the utilization of the gas in a synthesis unit. Autothermal or steam reforming operating with a nickel or noble metal catalyst is a feasible option to treat the gas, but the harsh reaction conditions may lead to the formation of solid carbon. This study discusses the effects of pressure, time-on-stream, and ethylene content on the carbon formation on nickel and rhodium catalysts. The experiments were carried out with laboratory-scale equipment using reaction conditions that were closely simulated after a pilot-scale biomass gasifier. The results indicated that ethylene content above 20,000 vol-ppm and the increased pressure would increase the carbon formation, although there were differences between the rhodium and nickel catalysts. However, carbon formation was significantly more pronounced on the nickel catalyst when the reaction time was increased from 5 h to 144 h. The type of carbon was found to be primarily encapsulating and graphitic. The formation of whisker carbons (also known as carbon nanotubes) was not observed, which is consistent with the literature as the feed gas contained H2S. It was concluded that utilizing a noble metal catalyst as the front layer of the catalyst bed could lower the risk for carbon formation sufficiently to provide stable long-term operation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number410
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • autothermal reforming
  • biomass gasification
  • carbon formation
  • encapsulating carbon
  • nickel catalyst
  • rhodium catalyst
  • steam reforming
  • whisker carbon


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