(409b) Stable Start-up Process for 1 kWe Diesel Autothermal Reformer for Auxiliary Power Unit Applications

Bae, M., KAIST
Kim, D., Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
Bae, J., Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)
Katikaneni, S. P., Saudi Aramco
Nowadays, Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) have a great potential to provide distributed power for remote regions. Also, APU can be used for mobile applications such as heavy duty trucks. Energy density is an important factor for fuels for the APU applications due to its limited space; volume and weight are restricted to ensure mobility. In that manner, diesel can be one of the good candidate fuels for the APU applications due to its high energy density.

However, typical diesel engine generator shows low electric conversion efficiency and makes high pollution. Therefore, a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) based APU is suggested to generate electricity, providing higher efficiency and lower pollutant emission. To utilize SOFC for the APU applications with diesel fuel, high quality hydrogen feed should be provided. With autothermal reforming (ATR) reaction of diesel fuel, hydrogen-rich gas can be produced with catalytic reactors.

During the operation of the diesel ATR, stable start-up process is a critical factor to determine its long-term stability. Initial degradation can severely occur if improper start-up process is applied, and the degradation affects to the durability of the diesel reformer. Also, start-up time must be reduced to minimum to provide fast electricity generation. Therefore, it is needed to develop stable and fast start-up process for the diesel autothermal reformer.

In this study, start-up strategies for diesel autothermal reformer are investigated. With initial heat-up process with electrical heater, partial oxidation mode boosts the start-up process. Temperature distributions within the reformer parts are monitored to manipulate inlet flow conditions. As the result, start-up strategy which enables less than 30 minutes of start-up time is obtained for the 1 kWe diesel autothermal reformer.