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Technical Paper

Challenges in Reforming Gasoline: All Components are Not Created Equal

Gasoline is a complex fuel. Many of the constituents of gasoline that are beneficial for the internal combustion engine (ICE) are expected to be challenging for on-board reformers in fuel-cell vehicles. To address these issues, the autothermal reforming of gasoline and individual components of gasoline has been investigated. The results indicate that aromatic components require higher temperatures and longer contact times to reform than paraffinic components. Napthenic components require higher temperatures to reform, but can be reformed at higher space velocities than paraffinic components. The effects of sulfur are dependent on the catalyst. These results suggest that further evolution of gasoline could reduce the demands on the reformer and provide a better fuel for a fuel-cell vehicle.
Technical Paper

Effects of Multicomponent Fuels, Fuel Additives and Fuel Impurities on Fuel Reforming

In order to determine any synergistic effects from reforming multicomponent fuels and to determine the effects of fuel additives and impurities we have investigated the autothermal reforming of fuel blends, including paraffin-aromatic, paraffin-naphthene, paraffin-oxygenate, and paraffin-detergent binary mixtures. The results indicate that aromatic, naphthenic, and detergent components adversely effect the reforming of paraffinic species. The results suggest that competitive adsorption at the catalyst sites decreases conversion rates of the paraffinic species. The paraffinic species are displaced by more strongly adsorbing species, leading to decreased kinetics for paraffin conversion.
Technical Paper

How Fuel Composition Affects On-Board Reforming for Fuel Cell Vehicles

Different blends of gasoline range hydrocarbons were investigated to determine the effect of aromatic, naphthenic, and paraffinic content on performance in an autothermal reformer. In addition, we investigated the effects of detergent, antioxidant, and oxygenate additives. These tests indicate that composition effects are minimal at temperatures of 800°C and above, but at lower temperatures or at high gas hourly space velocities (GHSV approaching 100,000 h-1) composition can have a large effect on catalyst performance. Fuels high in aromatic and naphthenic components were more difficult to reform. In addition, additives, such as detergents and oxygenates were shown to decrease reformer performance at lower temperatures.
Technical Paper

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

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.