A pair of Greek researchers are developing new nanomembrane reactors for steam-methane/hydrocarbon reforming and water gas shift reactions. The projected small scale reactors, separators and overall reaction systems are targeted to support the operation of fuel cells for transportation, stationary, and portable power generation applications.
An added advantage of such systems is the reactive and separative operations of the fuel cell membrane-processor which are combined to convert the hydrocarbon with steam to valuable fuel gas for continuous fuel cell operation. Moreover, the nanomembrane systems under development have the unique characteristics to perform multiple operations per unit volume, such as to utilize beneficial equilibrium shift principles in reactant conversion and product yield through the removal of permselective species (i.e., hydrogen) via the inorganic membrane out of the conversion/reaction zone. In this way, improved hydrogen and product yields can be achieved which exceed the equilibrium calculated yields.
Simultaneously, the reaction products, such as synthesis gas (i.e., H2, CO and CO2) at the reactor exit can be used as fuel in mostly solid oxide and molten carbonate fuel cells.—Vasileiadis and Ziaka
A paper on their work was published in the Journal of Nano Research.
Savvas Vasileiadis et al. (2010) Small Scale Reforming Separation Systems with Nanomembrane Reactors for Direct Fuel Cell Applications. Journal of Nano Research, 12, 105 doi: 10.4028/www.scientific.net/JNanoR.12.105