Novel Catalyst for Carbon Monoxide Removal from Fuel Cell Reformate
60679 The DOE Fuel Cells for Buildings program is developing Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell system components for building cogeneration applications. The system uses natural gas to produce a reformate, which is the feed gas to the fuel cell. This reformate contains carbon monoxide (CO), which must be removed to prevent poisoning the fuel cell elements and the subsequent degradation of its performance. This project will develop technology to remove the carbon monoxide and thus improve fuel cell performance. Carbon monoxide will be reacted with hydrogen in the reformate to produce water-soluble products that can be scrubbed from the reformate by water and discarded without recycle. This purification system would operate at mild conditions and consume minimal amounts of hydrogen. Phase I established the technical feasibility of a novel catalytic technology for fuel cell reformate purification, achieving CO purification at temperatures from about 80 to 130¿C, and at pressures less than two atmospheres. It was shown that CO concentrations could be reduced to 10 ppm at steady operating conditions and under 100 ppm at transient conditions. The cost of the purification system appears compatible with the overall cost goal of $1500/kW for an installed PEM fuel cell system. Phase II will optimize the catalysts for peak system performance, evaluate the catalysts under realistic reactive conditions, construct and test a larger prototype for design and demonstration, and conduct an economic evaluation of the technology. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: The technology should solve an important problem that currently restricts the application of fuel cells for building and transportation systems. It should facilitate the commercialization of these fuel cell systems, and thus promote inexpensive, distributed sources of electricity generation, instead of large, central generators.
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James R. Kittrell
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