Characterization of Partial Oxidation of Catalysts Used in Fuel Cell Reformers

Within the last decade fuel cells have emerged as a potential replacement for ICEs in automobile and heavy-duty trucks. Fuel cells consume only hydrogen and oxygen (supplied in the form of air). Although hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe it must be derived from fuels such as natural gas, propane, methanol and gasoline. The key to the commercial success of fuel cell technology is the process of economical and reliable hydrogen generation. Hydrogen can be supplied to the fuel cell either by on-board storage of pure hydrogen or on-board fuel processor that reforms hydrocarbon feed stocks. Since storage of hydrogen has potential problems such as safety and space, on-board fuel processing is the most preferred way of hydrogen generation for the fuel cells. At the heart of the fuel processor is the fuel processing catalyst. This catalyst functions in a way to maximize the hydrogen production. The present research involves the characterization of these catalysts based on Cerium and Gadolinium oxides. The present work deals with the Pt/CeO2-Gd2O3, Ni/CeO2-Gd2O3 catalysts to understand the interaction between ceria and support metals Pt and Ni. Characterization is carried out using analytical techniques such as XPS, XRD and TEM. This characterization and optimization serves to minimize the size of the fuel cell reformer and also in the replacement of expensive noble metals in the catalysts.