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PROPANE STEAM REFORMING FOR FUEL CELLS

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PROPANE STEAM REFORMING FOR FUEL CELLS. By Tamika Brown. e -. e -. H 2. H 2. H 2. H 2. H 2. H 2. H 2. O 2. O 2. O 2. O 2. O 2. O 2. O 2. H 2 O. H 2 O. H 2 O. H +. H +. What is a Fuel Cell, and how does it work?. A fuel cell is an electrochemical device

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what is a fuel cell and how does it work

e-

e-

H2

H2

H2

H2

H2

H2

H2

O2

O2

O2

O2

O2

O2

O2

H2O

H2O

H2O

H+

H+

What is a Fuel Cell, and how does it work?
  • A fuel cell is an electrochemical device
  • that combines hydrogen fuel and oxygen
  • from air to produce electricity and water.
  • In a Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell, Hydrogen ions form at the anode, and
  • diffuse through the electrolyte and react
  • with oxygen at the cathode.
  • Anode: H2→ 2H + (aq) +2e-
  • Cathode: ½ O2 + 2H + (aq) + 2e- → H2O (l)

Anode

Cathode

Electrolyte

uses of fuel cells
Uses of Fuel Cells
  • Transportation:
    • Phosphoric Acid Fuel Cell
      • Anode: H2(g) →2H + (aq) + 2e-
      • Cathode: ½ O2 (g) + 2H+ (aq) + 2e- → H2O(l)
  • Portable:
    • Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell
      • Anode: H2(g) → 2H + (aq) + 2e-
      • Cathode: Cathode: ½ O2 (g) + 2H+ (aq) + 2e- → H2O(l)
  • Stationary:
    • Solid Oxide Fuel Cells
      • Anode: H2(g) + O2→ H2O(g) + 2e-
      • Cathode: ½ O2 (g) + 2e- → O2-
fuel cell uses
Fuel Cell uses
  • Fuel Cell transit buses in Chicago (Ballard Corp)
    • Anode: H2(g) → 2H + (aq) + 2e-
    • Cathode: ½ O2 (g) + 2H+ (aq) + 2e- → H2O(l)
  • Energy Research Corp.
    • Anode: H2(g) + 2CO3 → H2O(g) + CO2(g) + 2e-
    • Cathode: ½ O2 (g) + CO2 + 2e- → 2CO3
hydrogen
Hydrogen
  • Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe
  • No known sources of gaseous hydrogen
  • Hydrogen generated from another energy source such as petroleum or from water through electrolysis
    • energy (electricity) + 2 H2O ->  O2  + 2 H2

SO HOW DO WE GENERATE AN ADEQUATE SUPPLY OF HYDROGEN FOR FUEL CELLS . . . . .

fuel processor reformer
Fuel Processor/Reformer
  • Reformers convert hydrocarbon fuels into hydrogen
  • Steam and/or oxygen along with a catalyst are needed
  • Carbon dioxide is a byproduct

Electric Power Conditioner

Air

Fuel

Exhaust

Fuel

Processor

Spent-Gas

Burner

Fuel Cell

Stack

Air

H2

Thermal & Water Management

3 types of reactions
3 Types of Reactions

*Steam Reforming:

    • Hydrocarbon+ Steam + catalyst → H2 + CO2
  • Partial Oxidation Reforming:
    • Hydrocarbon + Oxygen + catalyst → H2 + CO2
  • Autothermal Reforming:
    • Hydrocarbon + Oxygen + Steam + catalyst → H2 + CO2
why choose steam reforming
Why choose Steam Reforming?
  • Tailor to application
    • Ex. This particular investigation focuses on stationary uses such as power plants and industrial plants
  • Partial Oxidation (POx) can be tailored to meet certain vehicle regulatory standards
  • Autothermal Reforming (ATR) is a thermal balance between (POx) and Steam Reforming
what is hydrocarbon source
What is Hydrocarbon Source?
  • Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG),
  • Consists mainly of propane, propylene, butane and butylenes in various mixtures.
  • In the U.S. the mixture is mainly propane.
why choose lpg
Why choose LPG?
  • LPG can be used in the home, commercial businesses, industry, and transportation
  • The residential and commercial markets where LPG is used make up about 50% of the world total LP gas retail sales
fuel processor reformer1
Fuel Processor/Reformer

Hydrocarbon + H2O(g) + catalyst → H2 + O2

1.Inlets to Reactor

a) Water → Steam

b) Fuel (liquid) → Vapor

c) Fuel (gas)

d) Air (POx or ATR)

e) Catalyst

2. Reactor

a) Sampling ports

3. Analytical Train

a) CO/CO2 detector

b) Mass flow indicator

what are the goals of experimentation
What are the Goals of Experimentation?
  • Explore how operating conditions affect the reaction kinetics
    • Variables: temperature, flow rates, catalyst
  • Data from reactor model → kinetics → full scale reactor design for commercial use
challenges of reforming process
Challenges of Reforming Process
  • Flow Rates:
    • High efficiency is desired at faster flow rates
          • Waste less fuel and energy, less catalyst
  • Cost:
    • Parts can be expensive, as well as precious metal coated catalysts.
  • Catalyst:
    • Catalyst needs to withstand impurities such as sulfur, but also produce the most amount of hydrogen possible
  • Temperature:
    • High efficiency needs to be achieved at lower temperatures
          • Less of a hazard, cost of parts is cheaper, and less energy is needed to maintain system
challenges continued
Challenges Continued
  • Response times:
    • Don’t want to have to wait periods of time for hydrogen to be produced in order for fuel cell to start working.
  • Durability:
    • Catalyst and Reformer need to be durable
  • Coking:
    • Carbon deposits in the reformer
          • This causes clogging in the system
  • Interference of components in fuel mixture
    • Alkenes interfere with alkane reforming
          • This is a problem for LPG, because it is not a homogenous mixture
conclusion
Conclusion
  • If we switch to a hydrogen economy
    • More efficient than combustion
      • Less air pollution (NOx, SOx, COx)
    • Easily transportable
    • Save money (less imports)
  • Fuel Reforming for Fuel Cells is an intermediary technology for the production of hydrogen until a renewable source of energy can be discovered.
acknowledgments
Acknowledgments

I would like to thank John Kopasz for giving me the opportunity to participate in this and other research projects. I would like to thank Dan Applegate for his knowledge and helpfulness. I express sincere gratitude to Laura Miller for her patience, time, and wisdom. Last but not least, I would like to thank the U.S. Department of Energy for giving students a change to grow scientifically as well as professionally.

references
References
  • “What is a Fuel Cell.” Fuel Cells 2000. 2 March 2004.
  • http://www.fuelcells.org/whatis.htm
  • Carter, David, “Fuel Cell Power: What’s taking so long?”
  • IPMI 25th International Precious Metals Conference, June 9-12, 2001.
  • “Electrolysis: Obtaining hydrogen from water: The Basis for a Solar-Hydrogen Economy.” 4 April 2005. http://www.nmsea.org
  • “Chicago’s Fuel Cell Buses Mobilized.” Hydrogen Newsletter Winter 1998: Hydrogen Buses. 4 April 2005. http://www.hydrogenus.com/advocate/ad31cta.htm
  • “Pocket-size PEMs.” Pocket-size PEMs. 4 April 2005. http://www.memagazine.org/backissues/february2000/features/pems/pems.html
  • Miller, Laura, “Safety Review for Long Term Test Reactor CMT50-0006-EP-Rev 08 NEPA Document ER-281.” February 17, 2005 pp. 1-15.
  • Laura, Miller, “Science Careers in Search of Women Conference.” March 10, 2005.
  • “What is Propane?” Alternative Fuels Data Center: What is Propane?” 23 March 2005. http://www.eere.energy.gov/afdc/altfuel/whatisprop.html.
  • “What is LP Gas?” World LP Gas Association. 29 March 2005. http://www.worldpgas.com/mainpages/aboutpgas/whatislpgas.php.
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