Compact Diesel Reformer for PEM Fuel Cells

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Contract: N/A
Agency Tracking Number: 35683
Amount: $99,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 1997
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Aspen Systems, Inc.
184 Cedar Hill St, Marlborough, MA, 01752
DUNS: N/A
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Wendell Rhine
 (508) 481-5058
Business Contact
Phone: () -
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
Various diesel reforming methods have been tried to develop an efficient and reliable means of providing hydrogen to fuel cell power systems promising high efficiency and low pollution. The most difficult obstacle has been coking up of reformers. Aspen proposes to solve the coking problem through an approach based on two proprietary technologies: catalytic diesel cracking and hydrogen separation membrane. One well-known coking mechanism is the thermal cracking of Olefins and reactions of the cracked products to cause coking at high temperatures. Aspen will prevent coking by first, feeding the reformer with only light hydrocarbons having low boiling points via catalytic cracking, and second, lowering the reformer equilibrium temperature by removing hydrogen from the reformer by hydrogen separation membranes. Similar membranes have been successfully tested inside methanol reformers operating at relatively low temperatures and inside methanol reformers operating at relatively low temperatures and high pressures. Diesel cracking will also enable us to burn the remaining portion of cracked light hydrocarbons and the residue in a clean burning blue-flame burner to generate steam needed for steam reforming. The proposed diesel reformer/PEM system will have close to 35% efficiency and generated only minute quantities of pollutants from a well controlled burner. In Phase I, we will design and test breadboard reformer components to prove the feasibility of diesel-to-hydrogen converter. In Phase II, we will demonstrate a compact prototype of 1kW diesel reformer/PEM fuel cell power system.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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