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Preparation and characterization of palladium ceramic alumina membrane for hydrogen permeation.

Orakwe, Ifeyinwa; Shehu, Habiba; Gobina, Edward


Ifeyinwa Orakwe

Habiba Shehu

Edward Gobina


In this study, a tubular palladium membrane has been prepared by an electroless plating method using palladium II chloride as a precursor with the intent of not having a completely dense film since its application does not require high hydrogen selectivity. The support used was a 15 nm pore sized tubular ceramic alumina material that comprised of 77% alumina and 33% titania. It has dimensions of 7 mm inner and 10 mm outer diameters respectively. The catalyst was deposited on the outside tube surface using the electroless deposition process. The membrane was morphologically characterized using scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive x-ray analysis (SEM/EDXA) and liquid nitrogen adsorption/desorption analysis (BET) to study the shape and nature of the palladium plating on the membrane. The catalytic membrane was then inserted into a tubular stainless-steel holder which was wrapped in heating tapes so as to enable the heating of the membrane in the reactor. The gases used for permeation tests comprised H2, N2, O2 and He. Permeation tests were out at 573 K and at pressure range between 0.05 and 1 barg. The results showed that hydrogen displayed a higher permeation when compared to other gases that permeated through the membrane and its diffusion is also thought to include solution diffusion through the dense portions of the palladium in addition to Knudsen, convective and molecular sieving mechanisms occurring through cracks and voids along the grain boundaries. While high hydrogen selectivity is critically important in connection with hydrogen purification for fuel cells and in catalytic membrane reactors used to increase the yield of thermodynamically limited reactions such as methane steam reforming and water–gas shift reactions whereby the effective and selective removal of the H2 produced from the reaction zone shifts the equilibrium, it is not so important in situations in which the membrane has catalytic activity such that it is possible to carryout the reaction in situations where the premixed reactants are forced-through the membrane on which the catalysts is attached. This type of catalytically active membranes is novel and has not been tested in gas-solid-liquid reactions and liquid-solid reactions before. With such a reactor configuration, it is possible to achieve good feed stream distribution and an optimal usage of the catalytic material. The preparation and characterization of such membrane catalysts has gained increased interest in the process industries because it can be adapted to carryout the chemical reactions if one of the reactants is present in low concentration and an optimal reactant distribution results in a better utilization of the active catalytic material. However, there are concerns in terms of the high cost of palladium membranes and research on how to fabricate membranes with a very low content of the palladium catalyst is still ongoing. Work is currently underway to deploy the Pd/Al2O3 membrane catalysts for the deoxygenating of water for downhole injection for pressure maintenance and in process applications.


ORAKWE, I., SHEHU, H. and GOBINA, E. 2019. Preparation and characterization of palladium ceramic alumina membrane for hydrogen permeation. International journal of hydrogen energy [online], 44(20), pages 9914-9921. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 2, 2019
Online Publication Date Feb 2, 2019
Publication Date Apr 19, 2019
Deposit Date Feb 25, 2019
Publicly Available Date Feb 3, 2020
Journal International journal of hydrogen energy
Print ISSN 0360-3199
Electronic ISSN 1879-3487
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 44
Issue 20
Pages 9914-9921
Keywords Hydrogen; Ceramic membrane; Palladium; Permeance; Electroless plating; SEM/EDXA
Public URL


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