Hydrogen generation from dimethyl ether by autothermal reforming

Detta är en avhandling från Stockholm : KTH

Sammanfattning: Heavy-duty trucks are in idle operation during long periods of time, providing the vehicles with electricity via the alternator at standstill. Idling trucks contribute to large amounts of emissions and high fuel consumption as a result of the low efficiency from fuel to electricity. Truck manufacturers are working to develop equipment using auxiliary power units to supply the trucks with electricity, which operate independently of the main engine. Fuel cell-based auxiliary power units could offer high efficiencies and low noise and vibrations. The hydrogen required for the fuel cell can be generated in an onboard fuel reformer. This thesis is devoted to hydrogen generation from dimethyl ether, DME, by autothermal reforming focusing on the application of fuel cell auxiliary power units. In the search for alternative fuels, DME has lately been identified as a promising diesel substitute.The first part of the thesis gives an introduction to the field of DME reforming with a literature survey of recent studies within the area. Included are also results from thermodynamic equilibrium calculations.In the following parts of the thesis, experimental studies on autothermal reforming of DME are presented. A reformer constructed to generate hydrogen to feed a 5 kWe polymer electrolyte fuel cell is evaluated with emphasis on trying to work close to a practically viable process, i.e. without external heating and using gas mixtures resembling real conditions. Additional experiments have been conducted to investigate the use of catalytic oxidation of dimethyl ether as a heat source during startup. The results of these studies are presented in Paper I.In the second experimental study of this thesis, which is presented in Paper II, Pd-based monolithic catalysts are evaluated at small scale for use in autothermal reforming of DME. A screening of various catalyst materials has been performed followed by a study of the influence on the product composition of varying operating parameters such as oxygen-to-DME ratio, steam-to-DME ratio, and temperature.