Skip to main content

Development and evaluation of an integrated methanol reformer and catalytic gas clean-up system for a spfc electric vehicle


The project is connected with the development and evaluation of a prototype integrated catalytic methanol steam reformer and high temperature selective oxidation gas clean-up system to produce a hydrogen rich fuel suitable for a SPFC and to meet the performance requirements (including transients) of an electric vehicle. The prototype integrated reformer/gas clean-up unit will produce sufficient fuel for a cell stack configuration capable of producing 20 kW of electrical power.
Technical Approach
The programme consists of the following elements:
The development and evaluation of an active catalyst with high thermal stability for the steam reforming of methanol at about 225°C to produce a fuel with the lowest practical level of carbon monoxide.
The development and evaluation of an active combustion catalyst to promote the burning of fuel cell off-gas to provide the endothermic heat of reaction for the methanol reforming reaction.
The development and evaluation of a catalyst for selectively oxidising carbon monoxide in the presence of hydrogen, to produce a hydrogen-rich stream with a carbon monoxide content of less than 2 ppm. The operating temperature (130°C/200°C) is to be such that no interstage cooling after the reformer will be required.
The development and evaluation of methods of applying the above active catalysts to suitable metal substrates or foams for optimum performance. The testing of the resulting substrates in prototype tubes installed in a suitable test rig(s).
The design construction and operation of an integrated, compact methanol reformer.
The design, construction and operation of a carbon monoxide selective oxidation system operating at elevated temperatures (130°C/200°C) incorporating suitable heat transfer elements.
Integration of the methanol reformer and carbon monoxide selective oxidation system.
The development of mathematical models for the above systems to be used as scale-up tools.
Assessment of resulting design for early exploitation in particular addressing the issues of vehicle integration, mass production and optimum cost.
Expected Achievements and Exploitation
Methanol and natural gas fuelled SPFC systems have been identified as an approach to improving the efficiency of energy systems and reducing harmful gaseous emissions to the atmosphere. The MERCATOX project is intended to contribute significantly to achieving these goals by developing, building, testing a prototype integrated methanol reformer and gas clean-up system that is compact, efficient and responsive with low emission levels. A successful project will result in the design of a unit capable of mass production.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Westerduinweg 3
1755 ZG Petten

Participants (3)

Avenida Rovisco Pais
1096 Lisboa
United Kingdom
Ashby Road
LE11 3TU Loughborough
Rover Group Ltd.
United Kingdom
Fletchamstead Highway Canley
CV4 7AL Coventry