Design of Pd-based membrane reactor for gas detritiation

S. Tosti, C. Rizzello, F. Borgognoni, N. Ghirelli, A. Santucci, P. Trabuc

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21 Citations (Scopus)


The development of a Pd-based membrane reactor to be applied in processes for tritium removal from various gaseous streams of tokamak systems has been carried out. In particular, the membrane reactor has been designed for decontaminating soft housekeeping wastes of JET. This membrane reactor consists of Pd-Ag permeator tube fixed in a finger-like mode into a stainless steel shell. The feed stream (gases to be detritiated) is fed inside the membrane lumen where the isotopic exchange takes place on to a catalyst bed while pure hydrogen (protium) is sent in countercurrent mode in the shell side. The feed stream consists of 200 Ncm3min-1of helium with 10% of tritiated water (tritium content 1.11 × 108Bq h-1). The membrane reactor design has been based on a simplified calculation model which takes into consideration the very low tritium content of the gas to be processed and the complete oxidation of the tritiated species in the feed stream. The model considers a tubular Pd-Ag membrane divided into finite elements where the mass balances are performed according to both the thermodynamic equilibrium reactions and permeation rates through the membrane of the hydrogen isotopes. The reactor model has permitted to verify that a Pd-Ag commercial tube of diameter 10 mm, length 500 mm and wall thickness 0.150 mm is capable to attain a decontamination factor larger than 10. A new mechanical design of the Pd membrane reactor has been also developed: especially, harmful mechanical stresses of the long permeator tube consequent to the hydrogenation and thermal cycling has been avoided. Furthermore, an innovative effective heating system of the membrane has been also applied. © 2011 EURATOM ENEA Association-ENEA Unit. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2180 - 2183
Number of pages4
JournalFusion Engineering and Design
Issue number9-11
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

Cite this

Tosti, S., Rizzello, C., Borgognoni, F., Ghirelli, N., Santucci, A., & Trabuc, P. (2011). Design of Pd-based membrane reactor for gas detritiation. Fusion Engineering and Design, 86(9-11), 2180 - 2183.