An catalyst developed by the US National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) exhibited stable, near-equilibrium performance while reforming biodiesel throughout a 100-hour test.
Liquid biodiesel fuel reacting with air and steam across the monolithic structured pyrochlore-based catalyst produced hydrogen-rich synthesis gas that powered a fuel cell in the NETL Fuel Cell Test Facility.
Previously, more than 1,000 hours of continuous testing proved the catalyst successful in reforming commercial diesel, and more recently was reproduced and validated for reactor products at Precision Combustion Inc. (PCI), a developer and manufacturer of advanced catalytic reactor systems for aerospace, energy, transportation, chemical, and fossil fuel production industries.
The amount of rhodium per kW of electricity produced—a major factor in determining the total cost of a reformer—was significantly less with the NETL catalyst than with others evaluated for the same PCI process.
Several more fuel cell developers, fuel reformers, and catalyst companies have expressed interest in evaluating the NETL catalyst for transforming diesel fuel quickly and reliably into clean syngas suitable for solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) applications. This technology would help make SOFC-based auxiliary and/or distributed power units both practical and economical, according to NETL.