HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Paris, France or Virtually from your home or work.
Angelo Vaccari, Speaker at Chemical Engineering Conferences
Università di Bologna, Italy
Title : Clean biogas as a renewable economic source of syngas and hydrogen


The steam reforming (SR) of natural gas plays a key role in the production of syngas (CO + H2 ) and hydrogen, widely used to produce chemicals, fuels or energy. However, the depletion of fossil fuels together with the environmental drawbacks associated to their utilization, have in the last decades prompted the attention towards new and renewable fuels. The main candidate to replace the natural gas is the biogas obtained by anaerobic fermentation of organic wastes or not edible biomass that, after purification from pollutant compounds, is a mixture of CH4 and CO2 (clean biogas or CB). Although the removal of CO2 to obtain bio-CH4 , that can be directly introduced in energy grid, is a feasible way, a full valorization of CB is more desirable from both economic and environmental point of view. In this context, the utilization of CB in the SR process is an attractive option, although the CO2 fraction is barely converted in presence of a high steam content in the feed, decreasing the overall productivity. From this point of view, the Dry Reforming (DR) represents an attractive way to produce syngas from CB, although its many drawbacks (high reaction temperature and coke formation) limit its commercialization. An interesting option is represented by the combined Steam/Dry Reforming (S/DR) reaction, in which the additions of a limited amount of steam to the DR process can mild the reaction conditions and limit the phenomena leading to the catalyst deactivation. In this process, the S/CH4 (Steam/ CH4 ) molar ratio in the feed drives the composition of the outlet stream, allowing to obtain syngas directly exploitable in hydrocarbons (Fischer-Tropsch) or CH3 OH synthesis. The syngas can be further upgrade through the Water Gas Shift process, that allows to tune the H2 /CO ratio or to improve the production of H2 for the chemical or energetic markets (for example to feed Solid Oxide Fuel Cells) as a function of catalyst formulation and reaction conditions. In this study, NiRh and Cu-based catalysts prepared from hydrotalcite-type (HT) precursors, investigated in the S/DR of CB and WGS of the obtained syngas, were deeply characterized before and after reaction to collect useful information to improve the performances by tuning catalyst composition and properties. A study of the deactivation mechanism allowed to suppress the carbon formation in the harsh reaction conditions of the reforming processes. The feasibility of the integrated process to obtain syngas directly exploitable in various downstream applications was successfully demonstrated by using new catalysts able to fully valorize the CB, without significant deactivation phenomena with time-on-stream.

Audience Take Away:

  • Clean biogas as valuable alternative to fossil CH4 to produce syngas or H2.
  • Advantages of the combine reforming process.
  • Way to tune the H2 /CO ratio as a function of the downstream applications.
  • Role of catalyst composition on the activity and stability with time-on-stream.
  • Advantages of the catalyst preparation from hydrotalcite-type precursors.


In 1972, Prof Vaccari graduated in Industrial Chemistry with honors at ALMA MATER STUDIORUM – University of Bologna, were he was Assistant Professor, Associated Professor, from 2002 Full Professor of Industrial Chemistry and from 2006 to 2018 Head of the Department. Awards: 1993 Italian Federation of Chemical Industries; 1996 Italian Catalysis Group; 2004 Professor HC of the Universitad del Litoral (Arg); 2010 Gold medal “P. Pino” of the Italian Industrial Division; 2011 Chemical Engineering Club; 2018 Silver Plate “G. Fauser” of the of Italian Catalysis Group. He is author of 270 papers, 265 Congress Communications and 20 Patents (16 EU or WO), with H-index = 43 and 10934 citations. Active in the R&D of new catalytic processes of economic and environmental relevance, he has been Task and/or Team Leader of 7 EU Projects, Coordinator of 2 National Projects, and Team Leader of many National and International Projects in collaboration with Research Institutions or Companies. He is member of the Editorial board of Applied Clay Science and was Guest-Editor of 4 Special Issues of Applied Clay Science, 4 of Catalysis Today and of the book “Natural Conversion V”, Studies in Surface Science and Catalysis, Vol. 119.