Ethanol catalytic membrane reformer for direct PEM FC feeding

Journal Article (2013)


International Journal of Hydrogen Energy







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In this paper an ethanol reformer based on catalytic steam reforming with a catalytic honeycomb loaded with RhPd/CeO2 and palladium separation membranes with an area of 30.4 cm2 has been used to generate a pure hydrogen stream of up to 100 ml/min to feed a PEM fuel cell with an active area of 5 cm2. The fuel reformer behavior has been extensively studied under different temperature, ethanolewater flow rate and gas pressure at a fixed S/C ratio of 1.6 (molar). The hydrogen yield has been controlled by acting upon the ethanol ewater fuel flow and gas pressure.
A mathematical model of the ethanol reformer has been developed and an adaptive and predictive control has been implemented on a real time system to take account of its nonlinear behavior. With this control the response time of the reformer can be reduced by a factor of 7 down to 8 s.
The improved dynamics of the controlled reformer match better the quickly changing hydrogen demands of fuel cells. They reached a magnitude where costly hydrogen buffers between the reformer and the fuel cell can be omitted and an electric buffer at the output of the fuel cell is sufficient.



Author keywords

ethanol steam reforming, metal membrane PEM fuel cell, sensitivity analysis, dynamic modeling, reformer control

Scientific reference

R. Koch, E. López, Núria J. Divins , M. Allué, A. Jossen, J. Riera and J. Llorca. Ethanol catalytic membrane reformer for direct PEM FC feeding. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 38(14): 5605-5615, 2013.