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Design and Fabrication of Complex LTCC-Based Reactor for the Production of the Hydrogen for Portable PEM Fuel Cells
Keywords: LTCC, 3D structure, reactor
In the paper the development process of the complex 3D ceramic structures for the integrated evaporator, mixer, reformer and combustor (EMRC) system for the production of hydrogen for portable PEM fuel cells will be presented. Low temperature co-fired ceramic (LTCC) technology was used to fabricate ceramic structures of the system. The process started with the design and fabrication of each separate (stand-alone) component. For each component (the evaporator, the mixer, the reformer and the combustor) the required functionality and characteristics were defined through the pre-engineering process. The requirements for evaporator are a methanol flow rate of 50 ml/h, an equivalent water flow rate and operating temperatures over 100°C. The key function of the mixer is an effective mixing of reactants with no significant reduction of flow rates and temperatures of reactants. In the reformer the catalyzed chemical reactions at required flow rates and at temperatures around 300°C must be assured. The main purpose of the combustor is to supply thermal energy for the entire system. Each stand-alone component was developed and tested, and than optimized to fulfill requirements for the integrated EMRC system. The final 3D ceramic structure consists of 45 LTCC tapes (Du Pont 951PX). The dimensions of the structure are 75 x 41 x 9 mm3 and the weight is about 73 g. In the central part of this ceramic structure is a functional area, which includes two inlet channels (for the fuel and the water), two evaporation chambers, a mixing chamber, a reformer consisting of 3.5 m of channels coated with a catalyst, and a combustor (an air/fuel mixer, 8 micro-burners, and an exhaust system). In the structure 2 platinum-based electrical heaters and 4 platinum-based temperature sensors are integrated. Outside of the functional area 5 ceramic pressure sensors, 5 inlet/outlet tubes, and electric contacts for sensors and heaters are located.
Darko Belavic, Head of HIPOT R&D Group
HIPOT-RR, c/o Jozef Stefan Institute
Ljubljana SI-1000,
Slovenia


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