Skip to main content

Compact methanol reformer test-design construction and operation of a 25 kW unit


Drive systems for cars using a Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) and an electric motor can lead to increased energy usage efficiency and substantially reduced emissions compared with the best drive systems based on the internal combustion engine. Methanol is today the best energy carrier for such systems, when taking into account availability, cost and safety aspects into account.
The overall goal of this project is the design, construction and operation of a compact methanol reformer (CMR), including gas cleaning in combination with a PEMFC stack and the interfaces as part of a passenger car drive system.
Technical Approach
The project can be divided into the following main tasks:
Design and construction of a CMR (Haldor Topsoe A/S)
Development of a gas cleaning unit based on membranes (Haldor Topsoe A/S)
Design and construction of a catalytic combustor unit (KFA, Jülich) Assembly and tests of integrated CMR, gas cleaning unit and PEMFC stack (KFA, Jülich)
Development and manufacturing of a PEMFC stack (SIEMENS)
Evaluation of results
HALDOR TOPSØE A/S (HTAS) will design a compact reformer corresponding to 25 kW electricity integrated with a catalytic converter, which provides heat for the endothermal reforming reaction. A prototype will be constructed and delivered to KFA, Jülich. HTAS will also develop a gas cleaning unit based on membranes selective for hydrogen.
KFA will design, construct, test, and deliver a catalytic combustor for the prototype. KFA will also be responsible for assembling the total system and carry out test with it, including testing its dynamic behaviour.
SIEMENS will construct a PEMFC stack generating a power of 1 kW and conduct endurance tests with H2/air. This stack will be delivered to KFA, where it will be combined with the methanol reformer and gas cleaning step and operated with reformate.
Expected Achievements and Exploitation
On completion of the research, the design of a compact unit comprising methanol reformer, gas cleaning step and PEMFC stack for mass production should be possible. The aim is to have a total unit with a weight/volume of less than 4/5 kg/l per kW and a cost below 100-200 ECU per KW. The emissions will be an order of magnitude better than ULEV standards.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


55,Nymoellevej 55
2800 Lyngby

Participants (2)

Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
52425 Jülich
Siemens AG

91050 Erlangen