Hydrogen Reformation of Renewable Ethanol for Military Applications

Period of Performance: 11/02/2006 - 05/02/2007


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Nextech Materials, Ltd.
404 Enterprise Drive Array
Lewis Center, OH 43035
Principal Investigator


The U.S. military requires a reliable fuel supply and efficient power generation technologies, and ideally one that does not require importing of oil from politically unstable regions of the world. Fuel cell power generation from hydrogen is an attractive option, especially if the hydrogen is prepared from renewable resources. E85 is a renewable fuel blend of 85 percent ethanol (produced from corn) and 15 percent gasoline. To produce hydrogen, the E85 fuel must be reacted (reformed) with steam and/or oxygen to produce a hydrogen-rich gas mixture that can be purified and collected. The challenges associated with this process are that E-85 fuel contains two complex hydrocarbons, as well as sulfur that is a poison to most reforming catalysts. The demonstration of a suitable reforming catalyst and process is a critical step toward demonstrating hydrogen production from E85 fuel. In this SBIR project, NexTech Materials will develop hydrogen reformation technology E85 fuel. The primary focus areas of work in Phase I will be to demonstrate performance and longevity of previously established catalysts for steam reforming of E85 fuel. In Phase II, a prototype hydrogen production system for E85 fuel will be demonstrated using the reforming process established in Phase I.