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Electrochemical fuel cell generator having an internal and leak tight hydrocarbon fuel reformer

United States Patent

5,733,675
March 31, 1998
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
An electrochemical fuel cell generator configuration is made having a generator section which contains a plurality of axially elongated fuel cells, each cell containing a fuel electrode, air electrode, and solid oxide electrolyte between the electrodes, in which axially elongated dividers separate portions of the fuel cells from each other, and where at least one divider also reforms a reformable fuel gas mixture prior to electricity generation reactions, the at least one reformer-divider is hollow having a closed end and an open end entrance for a reformable fuel mixture to pass to the closed end of the divider and then reverse flow and pass back along the hollowed walls to be reformed, and then finally to pass as reformed fuel out of the open end of the divider to contact the fuel cells, and further where the reformer-divider is a composite structure having a gas diffusion barrier of metallic foil surrounding the external walls of the reformer-divider except at the entrance to prevent diffusion of the reformable gas mixture through the divider, and further housed in an outer insulating jacket except at the entrance to prevent short-circuiting of the fuel cells by the gas diffusion barrier.
Dederer; Jeffrey T. (Valencia, PA), Hager; Charles A. (Mars, PA)
Westinghouse Electric Corporation (Pittsburgh, PA)
08/ 518,272
August 23, 1995
1. GOVERNMENT CONTRACT The Government of the United States of America has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-FC21-91MC28055, awarded by the United States Department of Energy.