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A high-yield and ultra-low-temperature methanol reformer integratable with phosphoric acid fuel cell (PAFC)

Wang, Hsueh-Sheng, Chang, Cheng-Ping, Huang, Yuh-Jeen, Su, Yu-Chuan, Tseng, Fan-Gang
Energy 2017 v.133 pp. 1142-1152
carbon dioxide, catalysts, fuel cells, fuels, hydrogen, hydrogen production, methanol, phosphoric acid, power generation, synergism, temperature
To provide sufficient hydrogen at lower temperature (<180 °C) to small phosphoric acid fuel cells (PAFC), an ultra-low-temperature (130–180 °C) methanol reformer with high hydrogen yield (5.9 × 10⁻⁴ mol/min, or 644.8 ml/min/cm3, at 180 °C) is developed and integrated with a high performance PAFC. Compared to the previous reformer [26], the performance of the current reformer can produce 39.4 folds more hydrogen throughput at a much lower temperature (180 °C, decreased from 225 °C) with compatible methanol conversion rate (83%), owing to the synergic effects from optimizing the catalyst amount and reactive area, enlarging the depth of the channel, and increasing the concentration and flow rate of reactant fuel. Commendably, 79% methanol conversion rate and 5.2 × 10⁻⁴ mol/min hydrogen production yield can also be obtained at much lower operation temperature of 130 °C. In integration testing, a 132 mW/cm² power density is generated by directly employing the reformed gas (41.6% H2, 28.1%H2O, 28.5% CO2, and 1.8% CO) as the fuel to a small PAFC, a roughly 45.8% power generation efficiency is obtained when compared to that by injecting pure Hydrogen gas into the same PAFC, demonstrating a compatible performance when considering hydrogen of only 41.6% purity is provided.