ReforCELL - Advanced Multi-Fuel Reformer for Fuel CELL CHP Systems - ReforCELL

ReforCELL - Advanced multi-fuel Reformer for CHP-fuel CELL systems


ReforCELL aims at developing a high efficient PEM fuel cell micro Combined Heat and Power cogeneration system based on a novel, more efficient and cheaper hydrogen reformer together to the new design of the subcomponent for the BoP.

The main focus of ReforCELL is to develop a new multi-fuel membrane reformer for pure hydrogen production (5 Nm3/h) based on Catalytic Membrane Reactors in order to intensify the process of hydrogen production through the integration of reforming and purification in one single unit. The novel reactor will be more efficient than the state-of-the-art technology due to an optimal design aimed at circumventing mass and heat transfer resistances. Moreover, the design and optimization of the subcomponents for the BoP will be also addressed.

This general objective is directly related to the development of a novel catalytic membrane reactor (CMR) for hydrogen production with:

  • Improved performance (high conversion at low temperature for the autothermal reforming reaction)
  • Enhanced efficiency (reduction of the energy consumption)
  • Long durability under CHP system working conditions
  • Clean environmental operating conditions (CO2 emissions reduced from conventional reformer).
  • and including a good recyclability of its individual components and safety aspects for its integration in domestic CHP systems.

The technical objectives needed to achieve these goals with the novel multi-fuel processor (based in CMR) are the following:

  • Develop an advanced catalyst able to catalyse different reforming reactions under moderate (<700C) conditions and resistant to sulphur compounds and coke formation and at reduced cost.
  • Develop new hydrogen permeable membrane materials with improved separation properties, long durability, and with reduced cost, to be used under reactive conditions.
  • To assess the large scale production of the membrane developed.
  • Understand the fundamental physico-chemical mechanisms and the relationship between structure/property/performance and manufacturing process in membranes and catalysts, in order to achieve radical improvements in membrane reactors.
  • To design, model and build up novel more efficient (e.g. reducing the number of steps) multi-fuel catalytic membrane reactor configurations based on the new membranes and catalysts for small-scale pure hydrogen production
  • To validate the new membrane reactor configurations, and design a semi-industrial Autothermal Reforming (ATR) prototype for pure hydrogen production.
  • To improve the cost efficiency of membrane reactors by increasing their performance, decreasing the raw materials consumption and the associated energy losses.

Other technical objectives are related to the integration and validation of the multi-fuel reformer into the PEM fuel cell CHP system:

  • To design the optimum CHP system (aided by simulation tools) in order to achieve a complete system able to achieve the targets in performance and cost.
  • To test the reliability of the novel reactor with a Fuel Cell CHP system
  • To assess the health, safety and environmental impact of the system developed, including a complete Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), of the developed system.

The ReforCELL project structure is broken down in nine work packages following the focus on efficiency improvement of the overall m-CHP system based on PEM fuel cell and innovative multi-fuel processor. Furthermore, the novel materials and components will be implemented in a m-CHP system for proof of concept and validation. The work structure is detailed in the following figure:

The key milestones or deliverables in the frame of the project are the validation of the lab-scale reactors at month 28, the validation of the pilot scale prototype at month 42 and the validation of the m-CHP system at month 47.