Compact Plasma Reformer for the Ship Service Fuel Cell System

Award Information
Department of Defense
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Fuelcell Energy, Inc.
3 Great Pasture Rd., Danbury, CT, 06813
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Hossein Ghezel-Ayagh
Director of DFC/Turbine Development
(203) 825-6048
Business Contact:
Ross Levine
Director of Contracts and Counsel
(203) 825-6057
Research Institution:
Kurt H Becker
Dept. of Physics and Eng., Castle Point on Hudson
Hoboken, NJ, 07030
(201) 216-5671
Nonprofit college or university
FuelCell Energy, Inc. (FCE) is developing a marine fuel cell power plant for use on naval vessels. The Ship Service Fuel Cell power generator is based on internally reformed carbonate fuel cell technology utilizing naval logistic fuels.Logistic fuels require sulfur removal and conversion to a methane-rich gas for use with the internally reforming carbonate fuel cell stacks. The present fuel processing system removes sulfur by treatment with hydrogen gas in a pressurized catalyticreactor (HDS) followed by hydrogen sulfide absorption in a zinc oxide bed. The treated fuel is converted with steam to methane-rich gas in a pre-reforming catalytic reactor. These fuel treatment reactors together with the required ancillary equipment aremajor contributors to the overall size and weight of the present power plant.In this Phase I STTR project, FCE proposes an innovative approach of using a non-catalytic plasma reformer to replace the HDS reactor, hydrogen generator, pre-reformer, and associated piping and instrumentation. This reduction in system equipmentrequirement would result in a higher power density, lower cost, and lower maintenance power plant. Success of the proposed project would be a significant milestone toward the development of compact logistic fuel processors for shipboard fuel cell electricpower generators. If this project is successful, it will significantly improve the logistic fuel processing section of the Ship Service Fuel Cell Power Plant design. The technology would eliminate key pieces of equipment; reduce the number of heat exchangers and pumps aswell as all the associated piping and instrumentation. This reduction in system complexity will result in a higher power density and lower cost power plant. The plasma reformer system in this proposal has potential advantages over conventional means of steam reforming for production of methane rich gas. The proposed plasma reformer addresses one of the critical requirements of the Ship Service Fuel Cellsystem by reducing the overall power plant size and weight, as well as reduction in power plant cost and maintenance requirement. These improvements will make the Ship Service Fuel Cell system more useful for naval as well as commercial marineapplications.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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