Microchannel Reactor with Low Oxygen Consumption For Highly Efficient Hydrogen Production from Liquid Hydrocarbons

Period of Performance: 10/26/2005 - 04/26/2007


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Innovatek, Inc.
3100 George Washington Way
Richland, WA 99354
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

University of Florida
339 Weil Hall
Gainsville, FL 32611
Institution POC


The Navy deploys unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs) as underwater scouts and navigation aids. Future UUVs must operate autonomously to collect, analyze, and transmit intelligence to the host ship. Powering autonomous underwater robots for long-endurance missions is among the toughest problems the Navy faces in deploying future systems because batteries generally fall short on range and stamina. Because of their high energy density and efficiency, fuel cells offer a viable option for meeting the expanded mission energy requirements, while simultaneously reducing the host vessel logistics burden if the hydrogen and oxygen fuel supply can be stored in a high energy density format. Since current hydrogen storage technologies cannot offer sufficient capacity for long duration missions, the application of hydrocarbon-based fuel reforming is an attractive solution. InnovaTek's technology produces hydrogen from high energy density hydrocarbons in a compact, light weight and efficient system. Through the incorporation of micro-channel technology for the reforming reactor and heat exchanger components and the use of a proprietary catalyst, InnovaTek's proposed system minimizes oxygen and fuel consumption. In addition, microchannel systems are characterized by capacities for high heat and mass transfer, fast startup, and responsiveness to changes in operating requirements, thus meeting the requirements for UUV power.