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Portable Power through Liquid Fuel Reforming in Microchannel Reactors

Daniel Palo, Robert Dagle, and Jamelyn D. Holladay. Microproducts Breakthrough Institute, Pacific Northwest Laboratory, PO Box 2330, Corvallis, OR 97339

To meet the growing needs of the U.S. military for portable power, Battelle, Pacific Northwest Division (Battelle) has been active in developing fuel processors and power systems at various power levels. For small power applications, fuel processors have been developed at outputs in the sub-watt, multi-watt, and sub-kilowatt ranges. Each of these systems operates on methanol and employs Battelle's proprietary methanol steam reforming catalyst and patented microchannel architecture. Microchannels provide rapid heat and mass transfer in the process streams, while proprietary catalysts provide high conversion activity and excellent product selectivity. The result is that these devices are small and light, and provide a reliable stream of hydrogen-rich gas to power small proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells. Other recent activities have focused on multi-kW reforming applications for transportable military power, including hydrocarbon reforming as well as desulfurization activities.