Plate Type Methanol Steam Reformer Using New Catalytic Combustion for a Fuel Cell
Methanol steam reforming, which is an endothermic reaction, needs some heating. Both methanol conversion ratio and carbon monoxide (CO) concentration increase when temperature is elevated. As CO poisons a typical polymer electrolyte of a fuel cell, the relationship between methanol conversion ratio and CO concentration is a trade-off one. It was found from preliminary researches that the reforming reaction speed is controlled by heat transfer rate at large methanol flow rate, where methanol conversion ratio becomes lower and CO concentration becomes higher. Therefore it is necessary to develop a new methanol reforming concept that provides stable combustion for heating and enhanced heat transfer for improving the trade-off relationship and making a compact reformer. Reforming catalyst using metal honeycomb support and a new catalytic combustion were applied to a new concept plate type methanol steam reformer, which is used in a fuel cell of 3 kW-class electric generation.