Journal article

Design and packaging of a highly integrated microreactor system for high-temperature on-board hydrogen production

Highlights • A “plug-and-play” microreaction system for high-temperature reactions (>500 °C). • Efficient thermal decoupling for using standard electrical/fluidic connections. • Automatic and accurate temperature control for calorimetric measurements. • A simple packed bed installation with few crack and high reactant flow dispersion. • Demonstrations of a good hydrogen production for μ-SOFC applications. Abstract. The development of miniaturized reactors that can operate at high temperatures independently is always of great interest for many applications, especially in the area of portable hydrogen production. Here we present such microreactor systems, made of glass, with integrated heating and fluidic features based on thick-film technology. Key considerations on design, fabrication and packaging of our systems to achieve a high-temperature operation (>500 °C), a thermal decoupling over 400 °C for the device in the use of standard electrical/fluidic connections, as well as a simple catalyst installation method, are described. Demonstration of these “plug-and-play” microreaction systems is shown with producing hydrogen on-board from catalytic partial oxidation of propane at about 550 °C (achieving 85% conversion of propane and 46.8% of hydrogen yield). The energy efficiency in comparison of the power consumption of electrical heating with the estimated energy produced from reformates shows a negative balance in the system under 30 sccm feed of fuel/air mixture, indicating that a sufficient feed rate of fuel/air mixture is required for the system to achieve optimal energy balance. At an adequate level of the feed rate, the CPOX carried in our systems can even reach a thermally self-sustaining manner without needs of the electrical heating, which have been illustrated in our application development in micro-fabricated microreactors and micro-scale solid oxide fuel cells.


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