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Rhodium Supported on Thermally Enhanced Zeolite as Catalysts

Ivan C. Lee, US Army Research Laboratory, 2800 Powder Mill Road, Adelphi, MD 20783

Autothermal reformation of military jet fuel (1096ppmw sulfur) was investigated with rhodium supported on thermally stabilized Y zeolite catalysts. The zeolite catalysts were thermally stabilized by ion-exchanging with nitrate solutions of rare-earth metals (La, Ce, Sm, Gd, Dy and Er). Surface area analyses indicated that the exchanged zeolite can maintain its porous structure as high as 950OC instead of 800OC for a commercial NaY zeolite. The structure of the exchanged zeolite was characterized by X-ray diffraction. Rh-SmNaY zeolite reforming catalysts were prepared by incipient wetness or organometallic synthesis. The JP8 reforming experiments were performed in a short contact time adiabatic reactor with a monolithic catalyst with addition of air and steam at a temperature below 920 C. The effects of steam and fuel-to-air ratio (C/O ratio) were studied. Hydrogen and carbon monoxide were produced as the main products. Durability tests were performed with Rh/SmNaY-zeolite catalysts. This work shows that zeolite based catalyst can convert transportation fuels such as high sulfur jet fuel (over 1000 ppmw S) to syngas for solid oxide fuel cell applications.