Hydrogen Technology

There are several hydrogen related projects currently on-going with financial support from the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Army, DRS Technical Services, Inc., Leonard Wood Institute (LWI), and Air Force Research Lab (AFRL).

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 recent efforts have successfully developed a multi-fuel reformer prototype. 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
(10) optional auto-thermal mode of operation
(11) applicability to a wide range of renewable and nonrenewable feedstocks

Our team has designed and successfully operated two continuous reactor systems based on the above technology. The first-generation reactor was made of Inconel 625 alloy, whereas the second and third generation reactors were made of Haynes alloys. The process has been successfully operated on a variety of feed hydrocarbons. The current effort on JP-8 reformation has been supported by funding from the U.S. Army through a subcontract from DRS Technical Services, Inc. The current effort on ethanol reformation has been funded by U.S. Department of Transportation by a UTC Grant. Multifuel reformer and its PEM fuel cell integration was supported by the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL). The process technology has enormous potential that can be tapped for a variety of novel and alternative fuel processing technologies.

External View of the Novel Supercritical Water Reformer with Generation-I Reactor (not shown data aquisition and control computers.

Bio-Hydrogen Processes

Our group has developed a comprehensive process technology of biomass-to-hydrogen conversion. Several different process schemes have been developed for lignocellulosic materials, corns and corn stovers, municipal solid wastes, and bigas from anaerobic digesters. The process schemes can be expanded to allow for methanol synthesis, gasoline synthesis, Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, as well as the aforementioned noncatalytic, direct reformation. A R&D project on hydrogen generation using biofuel byproduct (such as crude glycerin) is in place with Ohio University and funded by the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST).

Hydrogen Technology Infrastructure Testbed

Our group participated in the Hydrogen Infrastructure Testbed Research while Dr. Lee was with the University of Missouri. The effort was financially supported by Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). The project effort involved hydrogen fueling station design and operation, commuter service operation using hydrogen buses, safety implementation, storage and dispensing, materials for safety education, code development, etc.

The site of the HyPoint Laboratory of Fuels and Polymer Processing, the former home of Dr. Lee's research group, was used as the temporary station for Missouri's first hydrogen Buses and Refueling Operation, whose photograph is shown above. Expertise and hands-on experience related to safe hydrogen handling and hydrogen station design has been acquired and further refined.


In addition, there are other process R&D efforts currently on-going for targeted hydrogen fuel production and very innovative process conversion. Details are not explained here due to the proprietary nature of the processes. If you would like to discuss about potential University research contracts and need further information, please contact us.

Fuel Reformation Lab

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