Fuel cell hydrogen from JP8 – US Army
The US Army Fuel Cell Technology team at Fort Belvoir needed an integrated system to fine-tune its process for converting a logistical fuel into hydrogen for operating a solid oxide fuel-cell stack. The end objective was to generate “quiet power” – with a minimal thermal and sound signature – on the battlefield. Mobile applications also included auxiliary power units (APUs) on trucks and other military vehicles.
Unitel designed and built a fully automated computer controlled reforming pilot plant, and this unit has been successfully operated for thousands of hours at the US Army Communications Electronics Command at Fort Belvoir in Virginia. While Unitel had previously supplied other reformers that ran on natural gas, propane, gasoline and ethanol, this JP8 system was a “first-of-its-kind.” The design of the Army unit was complicated by the need for rapid start-up and shutdown, while operating in a turndown range from 100% to 20%.
Unitel’s system includes two gas delivery modules (air and nitrogen), and two liquid delivery modules (JP8 and water). All four feeds are controlled and monitored by the computer. The outgoing products are also continuously measured and integrated, thus capturing all the data required for exceptionally tight mass balance calculations. The actual JP8-to-hydrogen conversion takes place within a catalytic autothermal reactor.
Engagement: C, B, D, O. Status – completed.