Simulation of a 250 kW diesel fuel processor/PEM fuel cell system

Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Journal of Power Sources (Impact Factor: 4.68). 01/1998; DOI: 10.1016/S0378-7753(97)02752-3

ABSTRACT Polymer-electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell systems offer a potential power source for utility and mobile applications. Practical fuel cell systems use fuel processors for the production of hydrogen-rich gas. Liquid fuels, such as diesel or other related fuels, are attractive options as feeds to a fuel processor. The generation of hydrogen gas for fuel cells, in most cases, becomes the crucial design issue with respect to weight and volume in these applications. Furthermore, these systems will require a gas clean-up system to insure that the fuel quality meets the demands of the cell anode. The endothermic nature of the reformer will have a significant affect on the overall system efficiency. The gas clean-up system may also significantly effect the overall heat balance. To optimize the performance of this integrated system, therefore, waste heat must be used effectively. Previously, we have concentrated on catalytic methanol-steam reforming. A model of a methanol steam reformer has been previously developed and has been used as the basis for a new, higher temperature model for liquid hydrocarbon fuels. Similarly, our fuel cell evaluation program previously led to the development of a steady-state electrochemical fuel cell model (SSEM). The hydrocarbon fuel processor model and the SSEM have now been incorporated in the development of a process simulation of a 250 kW diesel-fueled reformer/fuel cell system using a process simulator. The performance of this system has been investigated for a variety of operating conditions and a preliminary assessment of thermal integration issues has been carried out. This study demonstrates the application of a process simulation model as a design analysis tool for the development of a 250 kW fuel cell system.