Comparison of Startup and Transient Response With ASPEN Model Predictions for a 50-kWe Autothermal Fuel Processor 2003-01-0807
Start-up and transient response of on-board fuel processors for fuel cell vehicles continues to be a significant challenge. McDermott Technology, Inc. under co-sponsorship of the U. S. Department of Energy has developed an integrated, catalytic autothermal fuel processor for automotive applications. The fuel processor system is designed to deliver 50-kWe (equivalent) reformate gas suitable for use with a PEM fuel cell. The system design includes several features that enhance system response and serve to reduce start-up time. A dynamic process simulation model of the autothermal reformer and shift vessels was generated using ASPEN process simulation software. Startup and transient response tests were conducted on the fuel processor and results compared favorably to the model predictions. Sensitivity studies indicated that the minimum warm up time given the current design is 15 minutes which is unacceptable for automotive applications. Some simple modifications to the system, such as using monolith catalysts and automating the controls, could significantly reduce the warm up time.