validation of the Fluidized Bed Membrane Reactor (FBMR) concept was
originally carried out at the University of British Columbia and the
University of Calgary, where researchers demonstrated the FBMR concept
for the steam reforming reaction (SMR) on a pilot-plant
scale. This work (originally funded by the Science Council of
British Columbia) resulted in the FBMR-SMR process, which is
well-suited to numerous applications.
In 1994, UBC secured a patent (US 5,326,550, Can 2,081,170) on the FBMR’s novel features.
Related later patents (US
6,331,283 and US) have extended the technology to auto-thermal reforming in a
fluidized bed, and to a unique internally circulating reactor
configuration. Other patents have been submitted and are
The level of maturity and commercial potential of this technology led
the founders to form MRT™ and to carry out further development,
improvement and commercialization in an industrial environment.
In 2003, MRT™ commissioned the first integrated version of its FBMR
process in a demonstration reforming unit jointly designed by MRT™ and
NORAM Engineering. This alpha unit was housed at National
Research Council’s Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation in
Vancouver, where it was employed in a series of operational campaigns
over a period of 18 months. The results of this work were
then used in the design of two subsequent in-house versions of the technology.
These in turn have provided know-how for the design and
fabrication of demonstration reactors for Tokyo Gas and Linde.
One of the key areas of activity for MRT™ has been the development of its own
techniques for manufacturing hydrogen-permeable membranes and robust,
functional membrane modules for use within the FBMR. The
state of this technology, including valuable IP, is now such that
stand-alone purification systems have been developed for a range of
pure and ultra-pure hydrogen end uses.