Precision Combustion, Inc. (PCI) is developing high heat flux, compact, thermally-integrated steam reformer technology. The innovation consists of intimately coupled catalytic endothermic and catalytic exothermic sections implemented via novel metal mesh (Microlith®
) supported catalyst. This results in high heat flux for improved product selectivity due to uniform temperature distribution, and flameless operation results in lower peak operating temperatures for increased material safety. These compact reformers are being implemented for fuel cell power generation and H2
generation. Compared to conventional designs, PCI’s approach offers improved performance, durability and power density. This is facilitated by the use of high surface area, low pressure drop Microlith®
substrates coated with proprietary catalyst formulations. Additionally, implementation of flameless catalytic oxidation avoids high flame temperatures, increases thermal uniformity, distribution, durability and control. The burner component can utilize system waste heat, anode exhaust or supplemental fuel (as needed) to drive the endothermic steam reformer for efficiency advantages. Performance of the steam reformer has been rigorously evaluated for hundreds of hours with conventional as well as renewable fuels, including at high pressures for enabling hydrogen separation and purification. Data from these tests will be presented and discussed, demonstrating stable, equilibrium limited performance without coking or catalyst degradation. The sulfur tolerance studies of the burner and the steam reforming catalyst will also be presented.
PCI has extensive experience with balance of plant components and controls development. The BOP components e.g. fuel, air and water pumps and controllers are separately packaged, resulting in a compact system. The technology is scalable. The reformer was examined to generate SOFC-quality reformate and was coupled with a water-gas-shift reactor to generate HT-PEM, or PEM-quality (with additional CO cleanup) reformate. Additionally, integration with a hydrogen membrane separator resulted in production of high purity hydrogen. Alternatively, it could also be coupled with a pressure swing adsorber. Data from the reformer as well as from integrated testing with H2 separator operating on HRJ and S8 will be presented, demonstrating the potential for a compact H2 generation system. These reformers offer a solution towards compact, fuel flexible power generation systems for various military and industrial applications, as well as for on-site H2 generation systems.