Small stationary reformers for H2 production from hydrocarbons

Eugenio Cal, Antonella Giannini, Giulia Monteleone

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29 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes the activities performed in ENEA (Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Environment) during the last years in order to investigate the hydrogen production from largely available hydrocarbons, such as natural gas [1] and LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas), aimed at feeding Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells (PEFC) in the 1-5 kW electric power range. Reformers in such a size will be used for small domestic CHP systems (residential, hotels, offices, shopping centres) and for APU on boats and caravans. A significant part of the problems related with residential CHP based on PEFC occurs in the fuel processor [2]: start-up time is to be reduced, efficiency and reliability are to be increased. For this purpose ENEA has tested two LPG fed small reformers with a hydrogen production capacity of about 1 Nm3/h of H2equivalent, both based on the steam reforming process. The reformer test station was provided with instrumentation in order to evaluate the performances of the reformer in terms of H2yield, CO content of the syn-gas, thermal and energy balance. The experimental results show the feasibility of such a reformer and indicate the lines for further improvements. In particular the methanation process looks like more suitable than PSA for reformate gas purification in reformers of such a size. The quality of the reformate gas, in term of low CO content, is quite good for feeding PEMFC. The duration and the stability of the start-up time must be improved. The reformer efficiency range is 75-85%. © 2010 Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of Professor T. Nejat Veziroglu.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9828 - 9835
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2010


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology

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