Integrated low temperature methanol steam reforming and high temperature polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell
The main objectives of BeingEnergy are:
- Synthesizing, characterizing, and optimizing =catalysts for low temperature methanol steam reforming (LT-MSR, 170°C) and developing strategies for industrial preparation of the selected catalysts;
- Development, characterization and optimization of a cell-reactor for the LT-MSR;
- Integration, characterization and optimization of the low temperature methanol steam reforming reactors with a high temperature polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (HT-PEMFC);
- Development, characterization and optimization of the LT-MSR/HT-PEMFC 350 We prototype.
Achievements to date
The research team has developed a Pd/ZnO MSR catalyst with 4 times more activity per active metal loading than the conventional CuO/ZnO/Al2O3 catalyst G66 MR from Süd Chemie.The CO selectivity of the developed catalyst is 2.8 %, whereas in the conventional CuO/ZnO/Al2O3 the selectivity is 8.0 % for the same kinetic conditions.
BeingEnergy targets the development of a compact, easy to use power supply based on the synergetic integration in a stack of HT-PEMFC and LT-MSR reactor cells by using a very active new reforming catalyst. This new power supply will contribute towards strengthening the European portable FC industry by developing a prototype that is capable of entering the market in the near term.
The new power supply will meet the EU requirements for weight and volume power density, starting up time, cost and lifetime.
Hydrogen is foreseen to be the energy vector of the future. However, there are still significant barriers surrounding the capacity to store and transport it, especially in small portable applications. The success of a portable Fuel Cell system depends to a large extent, on the fuel supply that should be accomplished in a cost effective and comfortable manner.
The present project proposes a power supply comprising a methanol steam reformer and high temperature polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (HT-PEMFC) which operates at the same temperature. The heat integration of these two units originates an increase of up to 14% of the overall efficiency; when reformer and fuel cell operate at the same temperature, the heat involved in the endothermic steam reforming reaction can be supplied by the highly exothermic fuel cell. Moreover, the heat integration also creates a much simpler and compact unit and then robust power supply that can meet and exceed the targets defined by the project call. Due to the catalysts’ characteristics and the low operating temperature, the reformer originates a reformate stream poor in CO (<0.1%), which increases the performance and lifetime of the fuel cell. This remarkable improvement is primarily possible because of the development achieved by a team member of a very high active methanol steam reforming catalyst family that can catalyze this reaction effectively at temperatures as low as 170°C. The new integrated power supply will be a landmark in the development of a fuel cell power supply for mass consumption. Additionally, it is considered the development and study of a composite palladium membrane for incorporating in the reformer and of an ionic liquid supported polymer membrane, selective for CO2 removal from reformate streams operating up to 200°C and the characterization of developed catalysts towards the low temperature steam reforming of dimethyl ether. These are fundamental developments needed for the foreseen new generation of combined power supplies.