Steam Generation with CO2 Capture via Steam Methane Reforming


Collaboration and Funding Opportunities Welcome


Todd Bandhauer
Lue Giugliano
Jennifer Wilcox
Simona Liguori
Kourosh Kian

At A Glance

​Researchers at Colorado State University in collaboration with the Colorado School of Mines and Worcester Polytechnic Institute have developed a direct replacement for natural gas-fired, steam generating, industrial boilers.  The invention reforms natural gas fuel into hydrogen, then burns it to generate steam.  The system efficiency is 97.0% with zero carbon dioxide emissions.

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Reference No.:  2019-101


Industrial steam generation consumes large amounts of natural gas and contributes significantly to CO2 emissions. Existing boiler technology is relatively inefficient, and its continued adoption could potentially be hampered by carbon emissions taxes due to the difficulty in CO2 separation from the dilute exhaust gas stream.

Technology Overview

​The alternative approach to steam generation, developed here, combines a membrane reactor (MR) to produce hydrogen from steam methane reforming (SMR), resulting in a concentrated CO2 effluent. To evaluate the technology, researchers investigated a coupled thermodynamic and technoeconomic analysis of an industrial-scale SMR plant to produce hydrogen in a MR used primarily for the purpose of steam generation (SG).   It was determined the SMR-MR-SG system converts NG to clean-burning hydrogen (H2), captures and concentrates CO2, and increases system efficiency to 97%.  Moreover, the higher capital cost of the SMR-MR-SG system is more than offset by reduced fuel and water consumption, avoidance of potential CO2 emissions taxes, and sale of sequestered CO2, with conservative analysis showing a payback period of 1.9 years relative to existing boiler technology.

  • Increase system efficiency from 86% to 97%
  • Achieves 100% reduction in CO2 emissions
  • Reduces water consumption by 55%
  • Reduces natural gas consumption by 14%
  • 35% reduction in lifetime cost
  • Combined Heat and Power Plants
  • Steam Power Plants
  • District Heating
  • Industrial Processes (where steam is required)
  • Compressed CO2 applications (e.g. heating factory and providing CO2 for beverage carbonation)

Giugliano, L. (2019) Technoeconomic Analysis of a Steam Generation System with Carbon Capture. PhD diss., Colorado State University.

Last updated: August 2020

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