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Hydrogen separation from reformate produced by an on-board methanol reformerfor SPFC vehicles : development and evaluation of Metal Membrane Unit


Within the EC Joule programme the integrated development of SPFC vehicles is identified as an important approach to reducing harmful gaseous emissions into the atmosphere in the transport sector. Such systems will be basically using liquid fuels as methanol which must be reformed to obtain hydrogen to fuel the SPFC unit. During reforming always some carbon monoxide is formed which will poison the SPFC and a feasible gas clean up unit will be critical to the future SPFC vehicle technology development. Currently membrane separation with Pd/Ag membranes is considered to be the only simple and one step clean up technique to produce hydrogen with a carbon monoxide level < lOppm.

The objective of the project is the development and evaluation of a prototype hydrogen separalion unit based on composite ceramic-Pd/Ag membranes. The unit is performance-effective, sizeeffective and cost-effective as gas clean up unit by means of separation of hydrogen from reformate produced by an on-board methanol reformer for 20 kW SPFC vehicles.

The project concerns the development of the module as well as- the membrane material itself based on the requirements for this particular application. For a compact module design it is important to have a high membrane surface area to volume rate, a reliable sealing technique and a geometry which ensures minimal concentration polarisation. The membrane manufacturing procedure has to give low cost membranes whereas their durability (start-up/shut-down cycles) and longevity (life-time) must be sufficient. In their performance the membranes must have negligible surface catalytic effect, high flux and a good response to transient behaviour. All above mentioned issues will be investigated experimentally in order to guide the research to an advanced state of the art than currently available.

In the evaluation of the feasibility of the separation, unit system integration studies are carried out for setting boundary conditions and requirements, to determine optimum process designs and to calculate cycle efficiencies. Flow sheeting will be used and the system performance will be validated experimentally. The viability in supplying pure hydrogen gas from the separation unit using reformate gas to an SPFC stack will be demonstrated.
The partners in the consortium have unique skills which are necessary in the different key parts of the project. The membrane development is done by t vo research institutes and two universities each with a proven expertise in either of the six membrane application technologies which are used. The module development and integrated system development is predominantly carried out by a chemical plant contractor and a car manufacturer supported by one of the research institutes which is experienced in scaling up and real size prototyping of energy technology products.


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Participants (5)

Avenue Albert Einstein 2
69626 Villeurbanne
Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan
100 44 Stockholm
Rover Group Ltd.
United Kingdom
Banbury Road
CV35 0RF 1 Lighthorne - Warwick
University of Salford
United Kingdom
The Crescent
M5 4WT Salford
Wellman CJB Limited
United Kingdom
Airport Service Road
PO3 5PG Portsmouth - Hampshire