Integrated Fuel Processor Development
SAE Technical Paper Series
The Department of Energy's Office of Advanced Automotive Technologies has been supporting the development of fuel-flexible fuel processors at Argonne National Laboratory. These fuel processors will enable fuel cell vehicles to operate on fuels available through the existing infrastructure. The constraints of on-board space and weight require that these fuel processors be designed to be compact and lightweight, while meeting the performance targets for efficiency and gas quality needed for the
... ty needed for the fuel cell. This paper discusses the performance of a prototype fuel processor t hat has been designed and fabricated to operate with liquid fuels, such as gasoline, ethanol, methanol, etc. Rated for a capacity of 10 kWe (one-fifth of that needed for a car), the prototype fuel processor integrates the unit operations (vaporization, heat exchange, etc.) and processes (reforming, water-gas shift, preferential oxidation reactions, etc.) necessary to produce the hydrogen-rich gas (reformate) that will fuel the polymer electrolyte fuel cell stacks. The fuel processor work is being complemented by analytical and fundamental research. With the ultimate objective of meeting on-board fuel processor goals, these studies include: modeling fuel cell systems to identify design and operating features; evaluating alternative fuel processing options; and developing appropriate catalysts and materials. Issues and outstanding challenges that need to be overcome in order to develop practical, on-board devices are discussed.