SUBJECT: Ph.D. Proposal Presentation
BY: Thomas Yun
TIME: Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 9:00 a.m.
PLACE: Love Building, 109
TITLE: Fuel Reformation and Hydrogen Generation in Variable-Volume Membrane Batch Reactors with Dynamic Liquid Fuel Introduction
COMMITTEE: Dr. Andrei Fedorov, Chair (ME)
Dr. Timothy Lieuwen (AE/ME)
Dr. Caroline Genzale (ME)
Dr. Peter Kottke (ME)
Dr. Christopher Jones (CHBE)


The proposed research focuses on liquid hydrocarbon fuel reformation and hydrogen generation for mobile, portable, and small-scale distributed power application. A new multifunctional reactor concept will be investigated, which combines direct droplet impingement and on-contact rapid evaporation/reaction of fuel on a heated catalyst (as inspired by the “Direct Droplet Impingement Reactor”/DDIR approach) with a variable volume batch reactor integrated with hydrogen selective membrane (as inspired by “CO2/H2 Active Membrane Piston”/CHAMP reactor design), aiming to achieve the maximum volumetric power density as well as on-demand dynamic variation in hydrogen throughput without sacrificing fuel conversion. This work will include experimental and theoretical components and focus on the following key research objectives
• To develop an analytical framework embodied in a series of reduced-order physical/mathematical models and to develop a bench-top prototype of the CHAMP-DDIR reactor, in order to validate the key operating principles of this new reactor concept through comprehensive simulations and supporting experiments. Two specific questions will be investigated in depth, with power density (hydrogen yield rate per unit reactor volume) as the main performance metric: (i)What is the effect of dynamically-controlled modulation of reactor pressure on enhancing apparent reaction kinetics and hydrogen transport/separation through the membrane? (ii) What is the importance of the role of the fuel atomization modality (e.g., delivering reagent droplets in pulses of varying duty cycle and frequency) on achieving optimal reaction conditions (e.g., maintaining temporally and spatially quasi-uniform temperature of the catalyst surface at a level desired for reaction kinetics) and avoiding hot/cold spot formation and catalyst flooding/reaction quenching?
• To gain a fundamental understanding of complex interactions among relevant transport and reaction phenomena, resulting in development of reactor operating regime maps and identifying the underlying physical processes that govern transitions between regimes.