Heat and fuel coupled operation of a high temperature polymer electrolyte fuel cell with a heat exchanger methanol steam reformer

Gerhard Schuller (Corresponding Author), Francisco Vidal Vázquez, Wendelin Waiblinger, Sonja Auvinen, Paulo Ribeirinha

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    In this work a methanol steam reforming (MSR) reactor has been operated thermally coupled to a high temperature polymer electrolyte fuel cell stack (HT-PEMFC) utilizing its waste heat. The operating temperature of the coupled system was 180 °C which is significantly lower than the conventional operating temperature of the MSR process which is around 250 °C. A newly designed heat exchanger reformer has been developed by VTT (Technical Research Center of Finland LTD) and was equipped with commercially available CuO/ZnO/Al2O3 (BASF RP-60) catalyst. The liquid cooled, 165 cm2, 12-cell stack used for the measurements was supplied by Serenergy A/S. The off-heat from the electrochemical fuel cell reaction was transferred to the reforming reactor using triethylene glycol (TEG) as heat transfer fluid. The system was operated up to 0.4 A cm-2 generating an electrical power output of 427 Wel. A total stack waste heat utilization of 86.4% was achieved. It has been shown that it is possible to transfer sufficient heat from the fuel cell stack to the liquid circuit in order to provide the needed amount for vaporizing and reforming of the methanol-water-mixture. Furthermore a set of recommendations is given for future system design considerations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)47-56
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Power Sources
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed



    • ht-pem
    • methanol steam reforming
    • coupling
    • heat utilization
    • pbi-membrane
    • heat exchanger reactor
    • HT-PEM
    • PBI-membrane

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