A multi-function compact fuel reforming reactor for fuel cell applications

James Reed, Rui Chen, Christopher Dudfield, Paul Adcock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A multi-function compact chemical reactor designed for hydrocarbon steam reforming was evaluated. The reactor design is based on diffusion bonded laminate micro-channel heat exchanger technology. The reactor consists of a combustor layer, which is sandwiched between two steam reforming layers. Between the two function layers, a temperature monitor and control layer is placed, which is designed to locate the temperature sensors. The combustor layer has four individually controlled combustion zones each connected to a separate fuel supply. The reactor design offers the potential to accurately control the temperature distribution along the length of the reactor using closed loop temperature control. The experimental results show that the variance of temperature along the reactor is negligible. The conversion efficiency of the combustor layer is approximately 90%. The heat transfer efficiency from combustion layer to reforming layers is 65–85% at 873 K and 673 K, respectively. The heat transfer rate to the reforming layers is sufficient to support a steam reformation of propane at a rate of 0.7 dm3/min (STP) with a steam to carbon ratio of 2 at 873 K.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)949 - 957
Number of pages8
Early online date6 Jun 2009
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2009


  • steam reforming
  • lpg
  • propane
  • multi-zone combustor
  • micro-channel heat exchanger


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