PROREF - A propane reformer system

based on monolithic reactor technology

Stefanie Schaus, Alexander Di Bella, and Gregor Hoogers

 

The objective of PROPREF is the development of a propane reformer based on monolithic gas phase reactors for generating up to 2kW equivalent of hydrogen. As part of a larger project, this reformer will be coupled to a fuel cell resulting in a portable power system for camping, yachts, and residential applications.

The reformer consists of an autothermal reformer followed by an initial conversion stage based on the water-gas shift reaction. The purification system is completed by a fixed bed reactor in which the gas is cleaned to below 10ppm of carbon monoxide by preferential oxidation [1].

The initial screening of promising catalytic materials is done by a Catalyst Rapid Screening Apparatus - CARS - developed at Birkenfeld. The best performing catalysts are subsequently tested in fixed-bed reactors and, ultimately, as monolithic gas phase reactors in the reformer system.

 

Autothermal Reforming

Autothermal Reforming followed by Water-Gas Shift (WGS)

Autothermal Reforming followed by WGS and Preferential Oxidation (PROX)

Scheme

- Discontinuous analysis of hydrogen, methane and nitrogen by gas chromatography

- On-line analysis of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide by IR spectrometry

 

Active surface area of a catalyst coated monolith

For CO adsorption measurements, a defined CO concentration in hydrogen is passed over the catalyst coated monolith. the exiting flow is detected by an IR spectrometer.

The total amount of CO is calculated from the integral over the retained CO. Under the assumption of an approx. surface concentration of 1.6 x 1015; cm-2 surface molecules the active monolith catalyst surface area is calculated at 114m² (one CO per metal atom)[2].

Comparison with figures measured after catalyst ageing determines the loss of surface area by metal sintering and/or site blocking.

 

Project status

The entire system will be tested and optimized in durability experiments. Thermal integration and the packaging of the system to a prototype reformer will complete the project objective. The reformer will then be coupled to a 2kW fuel cell.

Future work

The entire system will be tested and optimized in durability experiments. Thermal integration and the packaging of the system to a prototype reformer will complete the project objective. The reformer will then be coupled to a 2kW fuel cell.

Collaborators

IMM, Mainz

Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge financial support from the ministry of the Economy,
Rhineland-Palatinate, and the Stiftung Rheinland-Pfalz für Innovation.

References

[1] D.L. Trimm and Z.i. Önsan, On-board Fuel Conversion for Hydrogen-Fuel-Cell vehicles,
Catalysis Reviews 43 (2001) 31.84
[2]G.A. Somorjai.introduction to surface chemistry and catalysis.
John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 1994

Contact

Fuel Cell Centre Rhineland-Palatinate

Fachhochschule Trier
Umwelt-Campus Birkenfeld
PO Box 1380
55761 Birkenfeld 

 +49 (0) 67 82 - 17 12 50

 +49 (0) 67 82 - 17 12 87

 fuelcell@umwelt-campus.de 

Visitor Address

Campusallee 9916
55768 Hoppstädten-Weiersbach