Small Scale Reforming Separation Systems with Nanomembrane Reactors for Direct Fuel Cell Applications
Our recent communication focuses on small scale and nanoscale type engineering applications of alumina inorganic membrane reactors and reactor-permeator systems for the conversion of renewable and non-renewable hydrocarbons and methane rich streams into hydrogen rich gas for direct inner application and operation of fuel cell systems. This study elaborates on new nanomembrane reactors for the steam-methane/hydrocarbon reforming and water gas shift reactions, including work in the synthesis, manufacturing, modeling and operation of such microreaction systems. The projected small scale reactors, separators and overall reaction systems are of current significance in the area of multifunctional microreactor and nanoreactor design and operation in connection with the operation of fuel cells for transportation, stationary, and portable power generation applications. An added advantage of such systems is the reactive and separative operations of the fuel cell membrane-processor which are combined to convert the hydrocarbon with steam to valuable fuel gas for continuous fuel cell operation. Moreover, the nanomembrane systems under development have the unique characteristics to perform multiple operations per unit volume, such as to utilize beneficial equilibrium shift principles in reactant conversion and product yield through the removal of permselective species (i.e., hydrogen) via the inorganic membrane out of the conversion/reaction zone. In this way, improved hydrogen and product yields can be achieved which exceed the equilibrium calculated yields. Simultaneously, the reaction products, such as synthesis gas (i.e., H2, CO and CO2) at the reactor exit can be used as fuel in mostly solid oxide and molten carbonate fuel cells. The role of the alumina nanomembrane is also in the main conversion and upgrading sections of these feedstocks in order to overcome existing heat and mass transfer limitations and increase the overall efficiency of the microreactor-fuel cell system.
S. Vasileiadis and Z. Ziaka, "Small Scale Reforming Separation Systems with Nanomembrane Reactors for Direct Fuel Cell Applications", Journal of Nano Research, Vol. 12, pp. 105-113, 2010