April 3, 2003
On-board gasoline-to-hydrogen fuel processor for fuel cell vehicles under development
South Windsor, Conneticutt – HydrogenSource LLC, a developer of fuel processors for the fuel cell industry, today announced it has completed initial testing of its gasoline-to-hydrogen fuel processor for fuel cell vehicles.
The 78 litres system is designed to fit under the chassis of a fuel cell- powered automobile, enabling the car to be operated on currently available fuels. It operates on unleaded, California reformulated gasoline, and generates enough hydrogen to operate a 50 kilowatts Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell.
“We have demonstrated that on-board fuel processing of gasoline is technically viable for powering fuel cell vehicles,” said Phil Snaith, president of HydrogenSource. “We are providing a path to a compact, quick- start option for fuel cell vehicle developers that previously has been considered unachievable. We believe this can become a practical bridge to the hydrogen economy.”
The system takes less than 4 minutes from room temperature until production of fuel cell quality hydrogen, a significant improvement from industry reports of as much as 30 minutes.
On-board fuel processors offer several advantages to fuel cell vehicles. They provide a seamless transition from today’s gasoline fueling infrastructure to the hydrogen economy, resulting in a quicker introduction of fuel cell vehicles. Acceptance of fuel cell vehicles increases as customers will refuel their cars in the same way they and with the same fuel as they do today. Finally, auto manufacturers will be able to offer fuel cell vehicles with an extended driving range compared to storing hydrogen on-board with today’s technology.
HydrogenSource is currently working on a next-generation on-board gasoline fuel processor. The objective is to achieve a 30 seconds start time, in a 35 liters and 35 kilograms package, powering a 50kW PEM fuel cell drive train.
Larry Holland, HydrogenSource’s vice president of marketing and business development, said there are additional applications for on-board fuel processing technology. “It can also be used for auxiliary power units for cars and trucks, providing vehicle electrical power and passenger comfort with lower emissions and higher fuel economy,” said Holland. “Our on-board fuel processing technology can also be applied to reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions in current diesel and gasoline internal combustion engines, power plants, and industrial processes.”
Fuel processors are devices that convert hydrocarbon fuels like gasoline or natural gas into a hydrogen-rich gas. Hydrogen is supplied to a fuel cell as the main ingredient for its electrochemical process. HydrogenSource’s fuel processors utilize a patented Catalytic Partial Oxidation (CPO) technology to reform hydrocarbon fuels. The key attributes of HydrogenSource’s CPO technology are its compact size, integrated design and rapid start time, which are the keystones to producing affordable fuel processors for all applications.
In addition to the on-board system, HydrogenSource makes a 5kW and a 150kW fuel processing system for stationary PEM fuel cells. HydrogenSource will display its technology at the Hannover Fair (Germany) in April 2003.
HydrogenSource, founded in June of 2001, is a joint venture between Shell Hydrogen U.S., a division of Shell Oil Products US and UTC Fuel Cells, a part of United Technologies Corp.’s UTC Power unit.