Enhancing Hydrogen Production for Fuel Cell Vehicles by Superposition of Acoustic Fields on the Reformer: A Preliminary Study 2003-01-0806
Because of recent interest in energy independence, efficiency, and environmental issues, fuel cell vehicles are seen by many to be the way of the future. As near term fuel cell vehicles will likely use the existing liquid fuel infrastructure, the efficient reformation of hydrocarbon fuels is one technological hurdle that must be addressed.
An investigation has been made into the possibility of enhancing reformation processes through superposition of an acoustic field on the catalyst bed of a methanol-steam reformer. As part of this study, background is given outlining the difficulties and liabilities of steam-reformation for transportation applications. The facility studied includes a steam-reforming reactor that has been modified to accept an acoustic field. The effect of the acoustic field was experimentally investigated with relation to fuel conversion and temperature profile.
Although the facility used has not been optimized for utilizing acoustic waves, significant acoustic enhancement of the steam-reformation process is demonstrated. It is expected that for different fuels and/or reforming methods, similar results would be obtained for comparable process constraints.