Browse Publications Technical Papers 2001-01-1341

Fuel-Flexible, Fuel Processors (F3P) - Reforming Infrastructure Fuels for Fuel Cells 2001-01-1341

Fuel cells will undoubtedly be a part of the next generation of power supply technology. The gap that prevents fuel cells from entering into wide spread service is the lack of a hydrogen infrastructure, but fuel reformers can bridge that gap. A fuel reformer is a device that takes a hydrocarbon fuel (natural gas, gasoline, diesel, etc.) and processes it into a hydrogen rich, proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell ready gas stream. Hydrogen Burner Technology's (HBT) process approach is to use an auto-thermal reformer (ATR), low temperature shift bed (LTS), preferential oxidation reactor (PROX), and an anode off gas oxidizer (AGO). These technologies will be explained and discussed in detail. As important as the specific process is how each are tied together and packaged into a commercially viable product. At this stage of fuel cell and fuel reformer development, HBT sees this package as a fully independent device that can seamlessly be coupled with any PEM fuel cell. Direct attention was paid to manufacturing ease, tight packaging, required periodic maintenance, and most importantly cost. The packages were designed to be fully automated and required only minimal communication from the fuel cell to start up, run at various loads, and shut down. Creating this type of fuel reformer package is a quicker path to real use durability testing with integrated fuel cells, determining unforeseen integration problems sooner, and giving valuable data to the potential manufacturing costs. The progress of this project and the initial results will be discussed. Finally, the goals of the reformer packaging project as well as the planned progress for the next generation of production units will be addressed.


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