Fuel Processor for Air Expeditionary Force Deployable Fuel Cells Power Generator
Small Business Information
100 Cummings Park, Woburn, MA, 01801
AbstractDiesel fuel processors, the largest and most expensive system in a fuel cell power plant, are decidedly not modular. Every change in power specification means a change in fuel processor design. They have at least five reactors and many more heatexchangers. They require a plethora of power consuming controls and fluid movers. Their high temperature reactions are inefficient and require expensive materials. The impurities in diesel fuel are highly corrosive to metals. The reactions form soot andthe catalysts are unstable. Their product gas is only about 40% hydrogen. The selective oxidation required for carbon monoxide control cuts power plant efficiency about 5 points and degrades fuel cell life. Transient operations are slow and complex. Theelectrochemical autothermal reformer (EATR) is an innovative alternative to traditional diesel fuel processors. Based on a tri-layer ceramic electrochemical element, the EATR offers a solution to all the problems of the traditional diesel fuel reformer.The major obstacle to EATR development has been fabricating its layered structure. Two very promising fabrication methods and several materials have been identified to solve this problem. The EATR has the potential to revolutionize fuel processing inareas ranging from chemical processing to the automotive industry. Diesel fuel is perhaps the most widely distributed hydrocarbon fuel on earth. Its use in fuel cells would enhance the acceptance of fuel cell power plants. The simplicity of the EATR willlower the cost of fuel cell power plants making them more economically attractive. The high efficiency of fuel cells will also lower the world's diesel fuel consumption. The EATR will also be beneficial in other fuel processing applications including thechemical processing industry and the automotive industry.
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