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Customizable Fuel Processor Technology Benefits Fuel Cell Power Industry (ANL-IN-00-030)

Argonne National Laboratory

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	Figure 1. Schematic of a functional fuel processor</p>

Figure 1. Schematic of a functional fuel processor

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	Figure 2. Natural gas fuel processor tested in the laboratory</p>

Figure 2. Natural gas fuel processor tested in the laboratory

Technology Marketing Summary

Fuel cells work by using a highly efficient electrochemical oxidation process to convert the chemical energy in hydrogen to electric power and heat. Because hydrogen does not occur freely in nature, it must be produced from water or hydrogen-rich fuels. The energy for the hydrogen-production reaction is derived from the fuel or a renewable source (e.g., wind, solar, geothermal). The challenge is to develop a fuel processor that is effective, efficient, and marketable. Argonne National Laboratory has overcome that challenge by developing unique, patented fuel processor technology that can be customized to produce hydrogen-rich gas mixtures (reformate) for automotive, residential, and portable fuel cell power applications.

Description

Argonne researchers have developed integrated fuel processor technology that converts fuels (e.g., natural gas, gasoline) and renewable fuels (e.g., bio-ethanol, landfill gas) into a hydrogen-rich gas suitable for fuel cells. The patented components of the processor and the unique approach allow researchers to produce a custom processor that maximizes the proportions of fuel, air, and water to achieve high process efficiency. In addition, researchers have developed an autothermal reforming catalyst with limited sulfur tolerance that is capable of producing high yields of hydrogen and carbon monoxide per mole of fuel.

Benefits
  • Provides industry with the opportunity to obtain and use a customized fuel reformer for a specific application, a specific fuel, and specific constraints
  • Enables the licensing of the customizable technology for specific applications
Applications and Industries
  • Automotive – range extenders for electric vehicles
  • Residential heat and power
  • Remote and portable power
More Information

Fuel processors have been demonstrated in the laboratory for on-board and residential fuel cell systems. Argonne can provide technology support from design through posttest analysis to product development R&D support.

Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Date
Patent 7,563,292
Patent
7,563,292
Fuel processor and method for generating hydrogen for fuel cells
A method of producing a H.sub.2 rich gas stream includes supplying an O.sub.2 rich gas, steam, and fuel to an inner reforming zone of a fuel processor that includes a partial oxidation catalyst and a steam reforming catalyst or a combined partial oxidation and stream reforming catalyst. The method also includes contacting the O.sub.2 rich gas, steam, and fuel with the partial oxidation catalyst and the steam reforming catalyst or the combined partial oxidation and stream reforming catalyst in the inner reforming zone to generate a hot reformate stream. The method still further includes cooling the hot reformate stream in a cooling zone to produce a cooled reformate stream. Additionally, the method includes removing sulfur-containing compounds from the cooled reformate stream by contacting the cooled reformate stream with a sulfur removal agent. The method still further includes contacting the cooled reformate stream with a catalyst that converts water and carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide and H.sub.2 in a water-gas-shift zone to produce a final reformate stream in the fuel processor.
Argonne National Laboratory 07/21/2009
Issued
Patent 6,713,040
Patent
6,713,040
Method for generating hydrogen for fuel cells
A method of producing a H.sub.2 rich gas stream includes supplying an O.sub.2 rich gas, steam, and fuel to an inner reforming zone of a fuel processor that includes a partial oxidation catalyst and a steam reforming catalyst or a combined partial oxidation and stream reforming catalyst. The method also includes contacting the O.sub.2 rich gas, steam, and fuel with the partial oxidation catalyst and the steam reforming catalyst or the combined partial oxidation and stream reforming catalyst in the inner reforming zone to generate a hot reformate stream. The method still further includes cooling the hot reformate stream in a cooling zone to produce a cooled reformate stream. Additionally, the method includes removing sulfur-containing compounds from the cooled reformate stream by contacting the cooled reformate stream with a sulfur removal agent. The method still further includes contacting the cooled reformate stream with a catalyst that converts water and carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide and H.sub.2 in a water-gas-shift zone to produce a final reformate stream in the fuel processor.
Argonne National Laboratory 03/30/2004
Issued
Patent 6,967,063
Patent
6,967,063
Autothermal hydrodesulfurizing reforming method and catalyst
A method for reforming a sulfur-containing carbonaceous fuel in which the sulfur-containing carbonaceous fuel is mixed with H.sub.2 O and an oxidant, forming a fuel/H.sub.2 O/oxidant mixture. The fuel H.sub.2 O/oxidant mixture is brought into contact with a catalyst composition comprising a dehydrogenation portion, an oxidation portion and a hydrodesulfurization portion, resulting in formation of a hydrogen-containing gas stream.
Argonne National Laboratory 11/22/2005
Issued
Patent 6,110,861
Patent
6,110,861
Partial oxidation catalyst
A two-part catalyst comprising a dehydrogenation portion and an oxide-ion conducting portion. The dehydrogenation portion is a group VIII metal and the oxide-ion conducting portion is selected from a ceramic oxide crystallizing in the fluorite or perovskite structure. There is also disclosed a method of forming a hydrogen rich gas from a source of hydrocarbon fuel in which the hydrocarbon fuel contacts a two-part catalyst comprising a dehydrogenation portion and an oxide-ion conducting portion at a temperature not less than about 400.degree. C. for a time sufficient to generate the hydrogen rich gas while maintaining CO content less than about 5 volume percent. There is also disclosed a method of forming partially oxidized hydrocarbons from ethanes in which ethane gas contacts a two-part catalyst comprising a dehydrogenation portion and an oxide-ion conducting portion for a time and at a temperature sufficient to form an oxide.
Argonne National Laboratory 08/29/2000
Issued
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
ANL-IN-00-030, ANL-IN-01-065, ANL-IN-96-134 PrototypeAvailable - Catalyst, reactor designs, and integration options are available for various applications that require hydrogen.02/07/201202/07/2012

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To: Elizabeth Jordan<partners@anl.gov>