Transportation vehicles' overall efficiency could be greatly increased if a hydrogen-air fuel cell served as the power source. Carrying hydrogen on board a vehicle presents immense weight and safety problems, however, and the fuel cell vehicle has so far been successful only in space or research study. Reforming of a source fuel into a hydrogen-rich gas offers a solution to the problems, especially if waste heat from the fuel cell can be used in the reforming. This paper discusses the ideas behind fuel cell vehicles, the choice of methanol as the source fuel and the detailed design and construction of a reformer system to test the possibilities. The reformer system is now operating at the University of Arizona, and early data has provided successful results. The system was designed to be reliable and capable of testing methanol reforming using variables of temperature, pressure, methanol to water ratio, carbon buildup, flow rate and differing catalysts. Early results predict that at temperatures of 400 F and below a larger catalyst volume may be required to produce the volume of hydrogen needed at fuel cell maximum power. Ethanol research is proposed. (Author)

  • Corporate Authors:

    Air Force Institute of Technology

    Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
    Dayton, OH  United States  45433
  • Authors:
    • Shafer, J B
  • Publication Date: 1979-12

Media Info

  • Pagination: 110 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00328631
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Technical Information Service
  • Report/Paper Numbers: AFIT-CI-79-240T MS Thesis
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 15 1981 12:00AM