Unitel Technologies has designed and built a fully automated computer-controlled pilot plant for making fuel-cell hydrogen from JP8 military fuel. Following mechanical tests at Unitel, this unit will be shipped next month to the US Army Communications Electronics Command at Fort Belvoir in Virginia.
The US Army Fuel Cell Technology Team at Fort Belvoir intends to use the Unitel system to fine-tune the process for converting a logistical fuel into hydrogen to operate a solid oxide fuel- cell stack. The end objective is to generate “quiet power” on the battlefield. Mobile applications of the technology include auxiliary power units on trucks and other military vehicles.
Unitel’s pilot unit uses little more than 4 grams per minute of JP8 to produce 20 standard liters of hydrogen per minute (0.24 kg H2/hour), enough to generate approximately .975 kW of fuel- cell power. The system includes two gas delivery modules (air and nitrogen), and two liquid delivery modules (JP8 and water).
The catalyst Unitel uses is sulfur tolerant—the company has experience with its use in reforming gasoline with up to 150 ppm of sulfur. According to Unitel, initially the Army will use sulfur-free JP8 and over the next 12 months will switch to higher concentrations of sulfur to test just how high the catalyst can go.
(PNNL is developing a micro-channel reactor that creates a light, low-sulfur fraction of JP8 for use in reforming applications to create hydrogen in the field. (Earlier post.)
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 making exceptionally tight mass balance calculations. The actual JP8-to-hydrogen conversion takes place inside a catalytic autothermal reactor.
WASHINGTON — American agriculture has become increasingly dependent on foreign sources of natural gas, a key ingredient in the nitrogen fertilizer that farmers use to get high yields of crops such as corn and wheat.
Now, a California start-up company is preparing to open a plant that will make fertilizer in the U.S. and reduce fossil fuel emissions from agriculture.
Nothing exotic needed, said the company, SynGest of San Francisco. The raw ingredient for the same ammonia-based fertilizer farmers have used for decades is something many already have and don't really need: corncobs.
This kind of innovation is the upside of energy price increases, said Jack Oswald, the chief executive of SynGest.
Menlo, Ia. - Officials at SynGest Inc. say its proposed $80 million corncob-fed bioammonia plant should be built for economic, environmental and geopolitical reasons. One argument has an almost Cold War-era feeling.