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04007
Applications Analysis: Increasing the Useable Volume Capacity of a Reformer for a PEM Fuel Cell
Proposition:
A manufacturer of component systems for fuel cells is currently employing a refractory ceramic fiber based blanket insulation (2 layers of 1” thick, 8# density) in a series of reformers that they manufacture for commercial PEM fuel cells. The reformer units are approximately 48” tall, have a diameter (outer) of 8”, and operate at 650°F. Currently, the company is attempting to see if it is possible to increase the useable volume for reaction within the reformer by 25% by decreasing the insulation lining, but without sacrificing the thermal efficiency of the system.
Primary Goals:
• Increase the capacity of the reformer by 25%.
• Achieve similar or better thermal management results as the current insulation system.
Proposal:
By replacing the current material in use (i.e. 2 layers of Ceramic Fiber Blanket 1” 8#) with a 1.25” thickness of DynaGuard Flexible 16#, the useable volume of the reformer for the reformation process will increase by as much as 28%, while still maintaining the same or better thermal management results.
Thermal Analysis & Comparison:
Results:
37% less of the DynaGuard Flexible 16# material is required to achieve better results than the current lining.
• Even at the reduced thickness, the DynaGuard Flexible 16# material allows approximately 6% less heat to escape through the lining of the insulation material and thusly actually improves its overall efficiency in reducing the amount of energy necessary to keep the reformer at the desired temperature.
• The DynaGuard Flexible 16# material yields a cold face temperature approximately 3_ lower (approx 2%) than that of the current lining using Ceramic Fiber Blanket.
Production/Usage Analysis & Comparison:
Given the differences in insulation thickness for the two materials, the following can be estimated for the amount of useable space within the reformer:
Results
The DynaGuard Flexible 16# material allows for 28% more useable volume within the reformer.
• The DynaGuard Flexible 16# material achieves better thermal management results than the current insulation system.
Conclusion:
The DynaGuard Flexible 16# material is the best material to accomplish all the objectives that the company set forth as their primary and secondary goals. It utilizes the least amount of material for the greatest thermal management and capacity gains, and performs at the given temperature levels almost as efficiently as the other materials proposed while exceeding the goals set forth by the company.
For more information about how ThermoDyne’s DynaGuard Flexible, Ladle Liner, Board or Panel materials may be of use in your particular application, please contact ThermoDyne’s team of Application Engineers at toll-free: 866.741.5458.
Assumptions:
- Calculations assume ambient air temperature to be = 80°F, with natural convection consistent with an indoor environment.
- Calculations and information provided are for comparison purposes only, and are not intended for design specifications as individual scenarios for material use may vary.
- Calculations assume steady state during points of comparison and analysis.
- Total square footage of reformer without insulation systems is 8.37 SF.
- Graphic courtesy of Fuel Cells.org.
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