The advent of nuclear power plants necessitated a way to recombine the hydrogen, which was released from both the disassociation of water and the interaction of high-energy particles on the fuel cladding, with oxygen to form water. If left unchecked, the hydrogen would accumulate in the containment vessel and eventually build up to an explosive level. This is why all commercial nuclear power generating units have employed a catalyst to facilitate the recombination reaction.
Catalytic Combustion Corporation supplied its first catalyst for this service in 1956 and, since then, has supplied catalysts for over half of the nuclear power plants in the world. Catalytic Combustion technology has also been employed in the boron-stripping loop for pressurized water reactors (PWR) and in water-cooled linear accelerators.
Catalytic Combustion Corporation provides design assistance for both process and passive autocatalytic recombiners. The catalysts used for the recombination of hydrogen require a very high activity level so that they function at low temperatures and low hydrogen concentrations. They also need to have a low thermal mass and not be affected by the presence of water.
To meet these requirements, Catalytic Combustion has developed a metal based catalyst plug that combines these desirable attributes with a conveniently usable bulk substrate. The substrate is a knitted wire form that maximizes the available surface area without restricting the flow of gases through the plug.
The plug's loose bulk form allows it to be easily poured and drained from the process vessel, either by gravity or with a vacuum conveyor. And unlike ceramic pellets, Catalytic Combustion´s plugs do not adsorb water and are self-drying.