(500d) A Novel TPOX-Based “Swiss-Roll” Fuel Reformer

Pearlman, H., ACT, Inc.
Ronney, P., ACT, Inc.

A compact, non-catalytic, thermal partial oxidation (TPOX) based reformer has been developed to provide hydrogen-rich syngas to solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) using fuel-rich hydrocarbon-air mixtures as a feedstock.  The reformer is essentially a spiral heat exchanger with chemical reaction and heat release occurring at the center.  It is highly effective at recuperating heat from the hot reformate stream and transferring it to the inlet fuel-air stream such that superadiabatic temperatures can be achieved within the central heat release / reforming zone.  These high temperatures combined with long residence times in the preheated inlet channel enable the reformate to approach the equilibrium composition (the maximum syngas yield) without the need for catalysts.  The reaction is self-sustaining and does not require external energy other than for startup.  Syngas production has been demonstrated using rich propane-air, n-heptane-air, and JP-8-air premixed feedstocks over a relatively broad range of operating conditions.  Representative results will be presented for select fuels, inlet conditions, and reformer geometry.