Water gas shift reaction

Water gas shift reaction

The water gas shift reaction (WGS) is a chemical reaction in which carbon monoxide reacts with water to form carbon dioxide and hydrogen::CO + H2O → CO2 + H2

The water gas shift reaction is a part of steam reforming of hydrocarbonscite web | url = http://www1.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/production/natural_gas.html | title = HFCIT Hydrogen Production: Natural Gas Reforming | format = HTML | publisher = United States Department of Energy | date=2006-11-08 | accessdate = 2008-01-07] . It was discovered by Italian physicist Felice Fontana in 1780. The reaction is slightly exothermic.

The carbon monoxide can also be generated by bogs or other waste regenerative means by physical/chemical processes such as bog and landfill fires.


This reaction has been used as a CO removal method from the reformate for fuel cell applications.

The reverse water gas shift reaction has recently found a possible application in In-Situ Resource Utilization on Mars to provide oxygen for fuel for the Mars Direct mission concept.


The water gas shift reaction is sensitive to temperature, with the tendency to shift towards reactants as temperature increases due to Le Chatelier's principle. In fuel-rich hydrocarbon combustion processes, the water gas reaction at equilibrium state is often employed as a means to provide estimates for molar concentrations of burnt gas constituents.

The process is used in two stages, stage one a high temperature shift (HTS) at 350 ºC (662 ºF) and stage two a low temperature shift (LTS) at 190-210 ºC (374-410 ºF) [ [http://www.getenergysmart.org/Files/HydrogenEducation/6HydrogenProductionSteamMethaneReforming.pdf Stages] ] .


Attempts to lower the reaction temperature of this reaction have been done primarily with a catalyst such as Fe3O4 (magnetite), or other transition metals and transition metal oxides. Another catalyst is the Raney copper catalyst [http://researchspace.csir.co.za/dspace/handle/10204/776] .

ee also

*Water gas
*In-Situ Resource Utilization


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