Diesel/JP-8 Reformer with Hydrocarbon Tolerant Solid Oxide Fuel Cell

Period of Performance: 07/21/2003 - 04/21/2004


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Mesoscopic Devices, LLC
510 Compton Street, Suite 106
Broomfield, CO 80020
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


Mesoscopic Devices proposes to provide a commercially viable 500W - 50kW SOFC system incorporating a low-cost, robust catalytic partial oxidation reformer (CPOX) that effectively uses JP-8 as a direct feedstock. By combining a millisecond-contact-time reformer and a full suite of balance-of-plant components developed by Mesoscopic Devices with a hydrocarbon-tolerant fuel cell stack, our approach eliminates the need to produce high purity hydrogen and carbon monoxide. In Phase I we will demonstrate a CPOX optimized for the conversion of JP-8 to a partially reformed fuel stream and determine the limits of stable cell operation as a function of reformate composition. Multiple cell tests will demonstrate the ability to operate on fuel streams with significant hydrocarbon content. The combination of hydrocarbon tolerant SOFC and CPOX enables radical reductions in the size and complexity of the reformer, plus yields a reformate with higher energy value than typical approaches, resulting in a lighter, more efficient and robust overall system. A detailed system design will be presented at the end of Phase I, showing the advantages of this approach at the system level. The proposed reformer and SOFC system will significantly reduce the size and complexity of military fuel cell systems. Compared to other approaches, it will allow faster startup and improved load following and will be more efficient. By enabling operation on liquid hydrocarbons, it will remove a significant barrier to fuel cell use in portable or remote applications. A SOFC generator using this technology will be significantly quieter, smaller and more efficient than competing diesel generators. A wide operating range insures robust operation in difficult military conditions. Development of this technology will allow widespread use of SOFC's as APU's for both military and civilian vehicles.