SBIR Phase II: Compact, Lightweight Flexible Fuel Reformer for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC)

Period of Performance: 01/01/2006 - 12/31/2006


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Garrettsville, OH 44231
Principal Investigator


This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project demonstrates a flexible fuel reformer (FFR) that employs unique mechanical construction and operation to enable extended catalyst life in the presence of sulfur-containing heavy fuels. The FFR utilizes a low-cost heat exchanger that is constructed from metal foil and coated with a dual-function sulfur-tolerant catalyst. Combustion and steam reforming reactions occur simultaneously on opposite sides of the foil, allowing excellent heat transfer. Cycling the combustion and reforming reactions regenerates the catalyst by burning off carbon and sulfur deposits, resulting in continuous hydrogen production with low steam consumption. Selected catalyst formulations will be evaluated in the laboratory to understand their performance at conditions expected during both reforming and combustion. A 100 hour demonstration of a 1kw FFR that continuously produces hydrogen of a uniform composition from diesel fuel will complete the project. The innovation demonstrates a new method of steam reforming, which shows high potential to yield a viable scheme for producing hydrogen from commercially available fuels. The FFR can operate with a variety of liquid fuels, including gasoline, diesel fuel, and jet fuel. Near-term SOFC commercial opportunities include fuel cell powered auxiliary power units for commercial trucks, aircraft, and military applications.