Catalytic Micro-Reactor Systems for Hydrogen Generation

  • Patricia M. Irving
  • W. Lloyd Allen
  • Todd Healey
  • Quentin Ming
  • William J. Thomson

Abstract

InnovaTek is developing a novel portable-sized fuel cell hydrogen generator by combining micro reactor technology with advanced catalysts and separations technology. Although fuel cells have been around for years, it wasn’t until recently that advances, such as those made in micro-reactor technology, promise to make fuel cells economical and reliable enough for use in commercial applications.

The ultimate goal is the development of a micro channel catalytic reactor that produces pure hydrogen through catalytic reforming of methanol, diesel fuel and natural gas. Advanced membrane technology is incorporated to remove carbon dioxide, water and detrimental co-products from the reformate stream. Our technology provides a pure output stream of hydrogen that can be used in a compatibly sized PEM fuel cell for electrical generation.

A thermal and process system model that was developed as a system simulator was used to optimize the design of our micro channel reactor. With iterative testing and further refinement, the model will be used to provide a sound basis for improved reactor and process engineering.

On-going tests indicate that hydrogen production is maximized and CO production is minimized by proper selection of 1) temperature-dependent reaction equilibria, 2) ratio of fuel to steam, and 3) catalyst activity. The use of micro-reactor and micro-heat exchanger components help optimize these processes. Additional results include catalyst testing with sulfur present in the fuel and H-separation membrane development and testing, On going work includes mini-plasmatron development, and micro-fuel injection system development.

Keywords

Burner Dioxide Graphite Sulfide Steam 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia M. Irving
    • 1
  • W. Lloyd Allen
    • 1
  • Todd Healey
    • 1
  • Quentin Ming
    • 1
  • William J. Thomson
    • 2
  1. 1.InnovaTek, Inc.Richland, WAUSA
  2. 2.Department of Chemical EngineeringWashington State UniversityPullman, WA

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