Development of an internal reforming alcohol high temperature PEM fuel cell stack
The main goal of the IRAFC ( internal reforming alcohol high temperature PEM fuel cell) project are:
- the design and synthesis of robust polymer electrolyte membranes for high temprature PEM fuel cells, which will be functional within the temperature range of 190-220°C,
- the development of alcohol (methanol or ethanol) reforming catalysts for the production of CO-free hydrogen in the temperature range of 190-220°C and
- the integration of reforming catalyst and high temperature membrane electrode assembly (MEA) in a compact fuel cell. Integration may be achieved via different configurations depending on the position of the reforming catalyst.
The Project is funded by the Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) Hydrogen & Fuel Cells. This public private partnership supports research, technological development and demonstration activities in fuel cell and hydrogen energy technologies in Europe in order to accelerate their market introduction and boost the development of carbon-lean energy systems.
The proposed compact system eliminates the need for conventional fuel processors and allows for efficient heat management, since the “waste” heat produced by the fuel cell is in situ utilized to drive the endothermic reforming reaction. The targeted power density of the system is 0.15 W/cm2 at a cell voltage of 0.7 V. Thus, the concepts of a catalytic reformer and of a fuel cell are combined in a single, simplified direct alcohol (e.g. methanol) High Temperature PEM fuel cell reactor.
The heart of the system is the MEA comprising a high-temperature proton-conducting electrolyte sandwiched between the anodic (reforming catalyst + Pt/C) and cathodic Pt/C gas diffusion electrodes. With this configuration and the operating conditions described above, the IRAFC is expected to be autothermal, highly efficient and with zero CO emissions. In addition, the direct consumption of H2 by the MEA (fuel cell) and the electrochemical promotion effect is expected to enhance the kinetics of reforming reactions, thus facilitating the efficient operation of the reforming catalyst at temperatures below 220°C. The required peripheral components for the system start and the heat management will be constructed as microstructured heat exchanger whereby the system can be built very compactly.
Contact: Prof. Dr. Gunther Kolb, Head of Energy Technology and Catalysis Department,
Phone: +49 6131/990-341