Results and Findings
Lab-Scale Tests: Membranes
In addition to the testing of the 50kWe prototype system described above, lab-scale testing of component enhancements to the prototype system, to reduce its cost of electricity/foot-print and increase its performance has been carried out. Testing of selective membranes at SINTEF (to replace the Pressure Swing Absorber unit to produce high purity H2) with increased system efficiency has been completed. Compared to the baseline configuration, cooling and dehydration of the reformed natural gas feed before the H2 purification step are not required. Details of how the membrane could be integrated with natural gas reformer are available to download as D1.6 report.
Lab-Scale Tests: Fuel Cell Short Stack
The first lab-scale testing carried out is that of short stack PEM fuel cell units at different operating conditions. The experimental procedure comprised a) operation with high purity hydrogen b) operation with artificial reformate gas. Results obtained showed that upon switching from high purity hydrogen to a H2/CO2 mixture the fuel cell performance was highly affected. Increasing the proportion of CO2 reduced the performance of the fuel cell, although this performance was fully recovered when pure hydrogen fuel was re-introduced. A potential solution to CO poising could be injection of air (air bleeding) together with the reformate gas. Air at low concentration may have a positive effect due to CO oxidation (scavenging effect).