Fuel Reformation to Hydrogen

Novel Reformation Process

Our research group developed a novel process technology that is ideal for on-site, on-demand hydrogen generation from non-conventional feedstocks such as military logistics fuel, JP-8. The process can handle fuels with very high sulfur contents without any technical difficulty. The novel process is based on non-catalytic, condensed-phase reformation of liquid hydrocarbons such as jet fuel, diesel, ethanol, etc. The process has the following merits:

(1) non-catalytic reaction
(2) unparalleled sulfur tolerance
(3) highly efficient conversion
(4) resistance to coke formation
(5) super compact size, thus requiring the smallest footprint
(6) very versatile in terms of feed hydrocarbons
(7) embedded water gas shift reaction
(8) lower temperature operation
(9) use of environmental water

Our team has designed and successfully operated three continuous reactor systems based on the above technology. The first-generation reactor was made of Inconel 625 alloy, whereas the second generation reactor was made of Haynes 230 alloy. The third-generation reactor system was made of Haynes 282 alloy and adopted additional enhancements in its design. The process has been successfully operated on a variety of feed hydrocarbons.

The recent effort on JP-8 reformation has been supported by funding from the U.S. Army through a subcontract from DRS Technical Services, Inc. The recent effort on ethanol reformation has been funded by U.S. Department of Transportation by a UTC Grant. The recent effort on development of a more robust multi-fuel reformer system was funded by the Leonard Wood Institute (LWI) and the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL).

More recent efforts include efficient production of hydrogen from crude glycerin which is over-abundantly produced by biodiesel industry. Crude glycerin is composed of glycerin, a substantial amount of unconverted methanol, sodium compounds, and water. Our supercritical reformation process does not require any pre-cleaning or pre-treatment of crude glycerin for reformation processing.