SUBJECT: Ph.D. Proposal Presentation
BY: David Damm
TIME: Tuesday, July 31, 2007, 1:00 p.m.
PLACE: Love Building, 109
TITLE: A forced unsteady-state dynamically controlled reactor for small-scale distributed hydrogen production and carbon dioxide capture
COMMITTEE: Dr. Andrei Fedorov, Chair (ME)
Dr. Srinivas Garimella (ME)
Dr. Bill Wepfer (ME)
Dr. Tim Lieuwen (AE/ME)
Dr. Bill Koros (ChBE)


Development of sustainable solutions for future energy needs will require a decrease in energy consumption, increased reliance on alternative energy sources, and implementation of CO2 disposal technologies in the near future. The conceptual framework and feasibility of a system which uses liquid fuels to carry renewable energy to the transportation sector, and avoids CO2 emissions from these sources has been established, and requires that the liquid fuels be processed onboard the vehicle (to produce hydrogen) while the byproduct CO2 is captured and recycled. Technology for large scale catalytic hydrogen generation from hydrocarbons is mature; however, miniaturization of these continuous-flow systems for mobile applications has proven difficult because of the unique application requirements: minimal size/weight, maximum fuel utilization/selectivity to H2, efficient operation over wide range of throughput, and rapid transient response. The novel CHAMP (CO2/H2 Active Membrane Piston) reactor technology meets these demands and enables precise control of reaction conditions with simultaneous separation of H2 and CO2 streams. In this forced, unsteady-state reactor, a batch of fuel is brought into the reaction chamber and held there as conditions are dynamically controlled to ensure that 1) a maximum reaction rate is maintained even as fuel is consumed, and 2) separation of reaction products through the integrated, selectively-permeable membrane is enhanced even as the permeate species becomes depleted. When both processes are complete, the remaining mixture is exhausted out, and a fresh batch of fuel is brought in. Preliminary model predictions (validated experimentally) indicate that dynamic control of the reactor volume and residence time yields significant improvement in specific rate of H2 production over current systems. The immediate need then, is to build the fundamental knowledge base that is necessary for optimal design and operation of the CHAMP reactor.