Plate-Based Fuel Processing System Final Report

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On-board reforming of liquid fuels into hydrogen is an enabling technology that could accelerate consumer usage of fuel cell powered vehicles. The technology would leverage the convenience of the existing gasoline fueling infrastructure while taking advantage of the fuel cell efficiency and low emissions. Commercial acceptance of on-board reforming faces several obstacles that include: (1) startup time, (2) transient response, and (3) system complexity (size, weight and cost). These obstacles are being addressed in a variety of projects through development, integration and optimization of existing fuel processing system designs. In this project, CESI investigated steam reforming (SR), water-gas-shift (WGS) and ... continued below

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Faz, Carlos; Liu, Helen; Nicole, Jacques & Yee, David December 22, 2005.

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Description

On-board reforming of liquid fuels into hydrogen is an enabling technology that could accelerate consumer usage of fuel cell powered vehicles. The technology would leverage the convenience of the existing gasoline fueling infrastructure while taking advantage of the fuel cell efficiency and low emissions. Commercial acceptance of on-board reforming faces several obstacles that include: (1) startup time, (2) transient response, and (3) system complexity (size, weight and cost). These obstacles are being addressed in a variety of projects through development, integration and optimization of existing fuel processing system designs. In this project, CESI investigated steam reforming (SR), water-gas-shift (WGS) and preferential oxidation (PrOx) catalysts while developing plate reactor designs and hardware where the catalytic function is integrated into a primary surface heat exchanger. The plate reactor approach has several advantages. The separation of the reforming and combustion streams permits the reforming reaction to be conducted at a higher pressure than the combustion reaction, thereby avoiding costly gas compression for combustion. The separation of the two streams also prevents the dilution of the reformate stream by the combustion air. The advantages of the plate reactor are not limited to steam reforming applications. In a WGS or PrOx reaction, the non-catalytic side of the plate would act as a heat exchanger to remove the heat generated by the exothermic WGS or PrOx reactions. This would maintain the catalyst under nearly isothermal conditions whereby the catalyst would operate at its optimal temperature. Furthermore, the plate design approach results in a low pressure drop, rapid transient capable and attrition-resistant reactor. These qualities are valued in any application, be it on-board or stationary fuel processing, since they reduce parasitic losses, increase over-all system efficiency and help perpetuate catalyst durability. In this program, CESI took the initial steam reforming plate-reactor concept and advanced it towards an integrated fuel processing system. A substantial amount of modeling was performed to guide the catalyst development and prototype hardware design and fabrication efforts. The plate-reactor mechanical design was studied in detail to establish design guidelines which would help the plate reactor survive the stresses of repeated thermal cycles (from start-ups and shut-downs). Integrated system performance modeling was performed to predict system efficiencies and determine the parameters with the most significant impact on efficiency. In conjunction with the modeling effort, a significant effort was directed towards catalyst development. CESI developed a highly active, sulfur tolerant, coke resistant, precious metal based reforming catalyst. CESI also developed its own non-precious metal based water-gas shift catalyst and demonstrated the catalysts durability over several thousands of hours of testing. CESI also developed a unique preferential oxidation catalyst capable of reducing 1% CO to < 10 ppm CO over a 35 C operating window through a single pass plate-based reactor. Finally, CESI combined the modeling results and steam reforming catalyst development efforts into prototype hardware. The first generation 3kW(e) prototype was fabricated from existing heat-exchanger plates to expedite the fabrication process. This prototype demonstrated steady state operation ranging from 5 to 100% load conditions. The prototype also demonstrated a 20:1 turndown ratio, 10:1 load transient operation and rapid start-up capability.

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101

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  • Report No.: None
  • Grant Number: FC36-01AL67605
  • DOI: 10.2172/861640 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 861640
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc793444

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

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Creation Date

  • December 22, 2005

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Dec. 19, 2015, 7:14 p.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Aug. 30, 2016, 8:12 p.m.

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Faz, Carlos; Liu, Helen; Nicole, Jacques & Yee, David. Plate-Based Fuel Processing System Final Report, report, December 22, 2005; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc793444/: accessed September 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.