Dynamic response of a methanol reformer for transport: real time simulator and experimental validation
The project aimed to develop both a real-time simulator, to describe transient and steady-state responses of a methanol reformer system, and steam reforming catalysts with higher activity and selectivity. The main objective was the optimisation of a 40 kW methanol reforming system, feeding a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell for transport applications using hydrogen. The most suitable fuel cell for use in electric traction applications, such as cars and buses, is the polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell. However, due to the poisoning of the platinum electrodes in the fuel cell, this system is not able to tolerate more than 10 ppm of carbon monoxide in the fuel gas, without serious loss of efficiency and long-term reliability. It is therefore necessary to generate hydrogen from methanol onboard such a mobile application. This is accomplished by a methanol reforming system, specially designed to ensure the required efficiency and purity demands are met. To achieve such a design requires an understanding of the reforming step in all driving conditions, including cold start and partial load conditions.