In recent years, the leading research centers in the world have been focusing considerable efforts on the extended R&D studies of compact, efficient and reliable fuel reformers generating synthesis gas and hydrogen. The fuel reformers are assumed to become a key element of fuel cell based power units for stationary and portable (decentralized) applications. Its operation is based on catalytic reforming of a fuel into synthesis gas (hydrogen-rich gas mixtures) followed by removal/conversion of the components inhibiting efficient oxidation of hydrogen in the fuel cell.
Among promising feedctocks for hydrogen-rich gas production are alcohols (methanol, ethanol), ethers, light hydrocarbons (methane, LPG), gasoline and diesel fractions, biodiesel. The main task to be solved is to specify the optimum catalyst composition and develop a reformer which capable to convert of more than one fuel under similar reaction conditions. This approach allows the development of universal power generating units operating with various fuel types.
As continuation of our previous R&D on multi-fuel concept realization and production of hydrogen-rich gas from synthetic, renewable and conventional fuels , we report in the present work the results on steam reforming of C1-based oxygen containing compounds (methanol, dimethyl ether, dimethoxymethane) over the same type catalysts under similar reaction conditions. The other part of the study was performed using the natural gas, LPG, methane-propane, and flare (associated petroleum) gas, which are widely used for fueling power generating units. This approach will facilitate the using of available infrastructure for gradual introduction of high-temperature fuel cell based power generating units.
The considered in this work multi-fuel concept – production of hydrogen-rich gas from various hydrocarbon feedstocks using the same type catalyst and under similar reaction conditions – has been proved promising. The selected nickel oxide based catalyst provides efficient reforming of various hydrocarbon fuels into synthesis gas and methane-hydrogen mixtures suitable for feeding power generating units on the base of high-temperature solid oxide fuel cells and spark, diesel and gas-diesel internal combustion engines. The selected copper based catalyst provides efficient reforming of methanol, dimethyl ether, dimethoxymethane into hydrogen-rich gas with low CO content suitable for feeding power generating units on the base of high-temperature polimer electrolyte membrane fuel cells.
The work was partially supported by MES (Russia). AM wishes also to acknowledge the NYSERDA for financial support.
1. P.V. Snytnikov, S.D. Badmaev, G.G. Volkova, D.I. Potemkin, M.M. Zyryanova, V.D. Belyaev, V.A. Sobyanin, Catalysts for hydrogen production in a multifuel processor by methanol, dimethyl ether and bioethanol steam reforming for fuel cell applications // Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 37 (2012), pp. 16388-16396.