High efficiency, high temperature heat recuperation for reduced plasma energy consumption

Period of Performance: 08/01/2016 - 07/31/2018


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc.
1046 New Holland Ave Array
Lancaster, PA 17601
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


Efficient, cost effective methods for converting relatively inexpensive natural gas, available through existing pipelines, to Hydrogen rich syngas are needed. The reformed gas can then be converted into higher value products or cleaned and used with in fuel cell and other applications. The proposed plasma fuel reformer is a non-catalytic approach that avoids expensive catalysts that are susceptible to deactivation through sintering, coking or poisoning. Statement of how this problem is being addressed: A novel non thermal plasma reactor design is being developed with a focus on maximizing syngas yield with minimal electrical power. Modeling work is done to optimize the design and guide the experimental development and testing of a prototype reformer. ACT has also established partnerships with industrial partners to help commercialize the technology. What was done in Phase I? ACT developed a new plasma fuel reformer and performed experiments to characterize the effect of heat recirculation on syngas yields and reactor efficiency. Our results were shared with industrial partners involved in largescale hydrogen and syngas production, hydrogen fueling stations and fuel cells. Partnerships for Phase II and a plan that addresses commercial needs have been established. What is planned for the Phase II project? Design improvements to increase hydrogen rich syngas yield and overall efficiency are proposed through advanced modeling and experimental testing. Substantial attention will be given to commercialize the technology with support from our industry partners. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: Fuel reformers that efficiently convert natural gas into hydrogen rich syngas in a cost effective way are needed for applications that include: (1) hydrogen fueling stations (needed to accommodate increasing numbers of fuel cell electric vehicles), (2) fuel cells used for portable and stationary power, and (3) synthesis of higher value chemicals and liquid fuels (e.g., FischerTropsch fuels). Key Words. Fuel reforming, non-thermal plasma, hydrogen rich syngas Summary for Members of Congress. This SBIR Phase II proposal will develop and demonstrate an efficient non catalytic plasma based fuel reformer for converting inexpensive natural gas to hydrogen rich syngas. Partners include Drexel Plasma Institute, Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Gas Technology Institute and Fuel Cell Energy.