Journal article

A nanoparticle bed micro-reactor with high syngas yield for moderate temperature micro-scale SOFC power plants

This work introduces and investigates the a novel compact catalytic nanoparticle bed micro-fabricated reactor suitable for utilization in small-scale intermediate-temperature micro-SOFC systems. It is shown that the presented micro-reactor is able to produce syngas (CO + H2) efficiently from n-butane and propane at temperatures between 550 – 620 °C by means of catalytic partial oxidation (CPOX) using Rh-doped nanoparticles embedded in a foam-like porous ceramic bed as a catalyst. The novel micro-fabricated reactor system is experimentally tested using a carrier specially designed for heating the reactor as well as feeding the fuel and receiving the reaction product gases. Optimization of the syngas production is performed by varying fuel dilutions and reactor temperatures. The performance of the micro-reactor was investigated in two modes: (1) Continuous heating mode, in which two built-in heaters underneath the carrier are kept on throughout the reforming reaction. This simulates the operating state of a micro-SOFC system where the post-combustor provides heat to the micro-reformer continuously. (2) Thermally self-sustained mode, in which the heaters are turned off after the CPOX has been ignited. An estimation of the heat losses of both testing modes is also given. The present micro-reactor is able to achieve syngas yield as high as 60 % for n-butane and 50 % for propane in the continuous heating mode, which is a substantial improvement to state-of-the-art micro-reactors.

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