Browse Publications Technical Papers 2003-01-0414

Fuel-Cell Vehicle Fuels: Evaluating the Reforming Performance of Gasoline Components 2003-01-0414

Fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) are an emerging transportation technology, with a potential to provide very low vehicle emissions and significant improvements in fuel efficiency. The choice of a fuel for FCVs must consider several critical issues, including the availability of a distribution and storage infrastructure, manufacturing cost and capital requirements,energy efficiency, and performance.
Gasoline, one of the candidate fuels, is noteworthy not only for its existing infrastructure, but because it has the possibility of usage for both FCVs and conventional internal combustion engines. Gasoline consists of different types of hydrocarbons, including paraffins, naphthens, olefins and aromatics - - with carbon numbers distributed over a wide range. Gasoline also contains a variety of sulfur compounds and selected additives in small amounts., In some cases gasoline also contains oxygenates such as MTBE and ethanol. To develop the optimal fuels and associated catalysts for FCVs it is necessary to understand the effects of these constituents on FCV fuel processing.
Reforming performance has been evaluated with a variety of gasoline components, as well as conventional gasoline provided by refineries. Tests of initial reformer catalyst activity and durability at auto-thermal reforming (ATR) conditions have been conducted.
Results showed similar reforming performance among most hydrocarbon components except aromatics. The addition of MTBE improved reforming reactivity. Both aromatics and sulfur compounds caused rapid deterioration of reforming activity, while the magnitude of the reactivity loss varied between different aromatic compounds.


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