Browse Publications Technical Papers 2002-01-1885
2002-06-03

Reforming Petroleum-Based Fuels for Fuel Cell Vehicles: Composition-Performance Relationships 2002-01-1885

Onboard reforming of petroleum-based fuels, such as gasoline, may help ease the introduction of fuel cell vehicles to the marketplace. Although gasoline can be reformed, it is optimized to meet the demands of ICEs. This optimization includes blending to increase the octane number and addition of oxygenates and detergents to control emissions. The requirements for a fuel for onboard reforming to hydrogen are quite different than those for combustion. Factors such as octane number and flame speed are not important; however, factors such as hydrogen density, catalyst-fuel interactions, and possible catalyst poisoning become paramount. In order to identify what factors are important in a hydrocarbon fuel for reforming to hydrogen and what factors are detrimental, we have begun a program to test various components of gasoline and blends of components under autothermal reforming conditions. The results indicate that fuel composition can have a large effect on reforming behavior. Components which may be beneficial for ICEs for their octane enhancing value were detrimental to reforming. Fuels with high aromatic and naphthenic content were more difficult to reform. Aromatics were also found to have an impact on the kinetics for reforming of paraffins. The effects of sulfur impurities were dependent on the catalyst. Sulfur was detrimental for Ni, Co, and Ru catalysts. Sulfur was beneficial for reforming with Pt catalysts, however, the effect was dependent on the sulfur concentration.

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