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Title: Numerical modeling of an automotive derivative polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell cogeneration system with selective membranes
Authors: Loreti, Gabriele
Facci, Andrea Luigi
Thijs, Peters
Ubertini, Stefano 
Issue Date: 25-Sep-2018
Project: H2020 671396 
Cogeneration power plants based on fuel cells are a promising technology to produce
electric and thermal energy with reduced costs and environmental impact. The most
mature fuel cell technology for this kind of applications are polymer electrolyte membrane
fuel cells, which require high-purity hydrogen.
The most common and least expensive way to produce hydrogen within today's energy
infrastructure is steam reforming of natural gas. Such a process produces a syngas rich in
hydrogen that has to be purified to be properly used in low temperature fuel cells. However,
the hydrogen production and purification processes strongly affect the performance, the
cost, and the complexity of the energy system.
Purification is usually performed through pressure swing adsorption, which is a semi-
batch process that increases the plant complexity and incorporates a substantial effi-
ciency penalty. A promising alternative option for hydrogen purification is the use of se-
lective metal membranes that can be integrated in the reactors of the fuel processing plant.
Such a membrane separation may improve the thermo-chemical performance of the en-
ergy system, while reducing the power plant complexity, and potentially its cost. Herein,
we perform a technical analysis, through thermo-chemical models, to evaluate the inte-
gration of Pd-based H2-selective membranes in different sections of the fuel processing
plant: (i) steam reforming reactor, (ii) water gas shift reactor, (iii) at the outlet of the fuel
processor as a separator device. The results show that a drastic fuel processing plant
simplification is achievable by integrating the Pd-membranes in the water gas shift and
reforming reactors. Moreover, the natural gas reforming membrane reactor yields signifi-
cant efficiency improvements.
Appears in Collections:DEIM - Archivio della produzione scientifica

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