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Diesel fuel reformer for automotive fuel cell applications
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2009 (English)In: International journal of hydrogen energy, ISSN 0360-3199, Vol. 34, no 8, 3367-3381 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Fuel economy and emission abatement are issues, which are highly prioritized areas in the automotive industry of today. The debate about climate change has in recent years even more emphasized the importance of these issues and has increased the search for finding sustainable technical solutions. This paper describes an effort to develop an innovative and environmentally-benign hydrogen generation system operating on commercial diesel fuel to avoid running the engine to supply electricity at stand-still. The use of a fuel cell-based auxiliary power unit (APU) has the potential of delivering electricity at high efficiencies independent of the heavy-duty truck engine. During the reformer development phase, spray formation and mixing of reactants proved to be crucial to obtain high reforming efficiencies and low diesel slip. The diesel is being injected through a nozzle creating a spray of fine droplets of a size which can establish rapid evaporation. Air and steam are being pre-heated and injected into the mixture chamber and subsequently mixed with the evaporated diesel fuel. Depending on the operating parameters, a part of the fuel is being oxidized and produces heat. Autothermal reforming was chosen to circumvent the heat transfer problem in catalytic steam reforming. By supplying heat directly to the catalyst surface by an oxidation reaction the heat demand of the strongly endothermic steam reforming reaction can be fulfilled. We employed CFD calculations, which revealed the importance of avoiding large recirculation zones leading to a prolonged residence time of the hydrocarbon molecules and causing auto-ignition and excessive temperatures in the catalyst. Five different reformer generations are being described and discussed in detail in this publication. The first one was based on a fixed bed reactor, while the other four all relied on catalytic monoliths enabling low pressure drops. The early reactor designs all suffered from auto-ignition and instability problems. The latter generations exhibited a considerably more stable temperature profile in the reformer. The conversion of diesel and the reformer efficiencies are significantly higher than the early generation diesel reformers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 34, no 8, 3367-3381 p.
Keyword [en]
Reformer, Fuel processor, Auxiliary power unit, Fuel cell, Diesel, Automotive, Catalyst
National Category
Chemical Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-32343DOI: 10.1016/j.ijhydene.2009.02.013ISI: 000266176400017ScopusID: 2-s2.0-64449084192OAI: diva2:410134
QC 20110412Available from: 2011-04-12 Created: 2011-04-12 Last updated: 2011-04-12Bibliographically approved

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Nilsson, MaritaPettersson, Lars J.
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