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Passive Thermal Management for a Fuel Cell Reforming Process
ADVANCED COOLING TECHNOLOGIES INC LANCASTER PA
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The US Navy is investigating hydrogen fuel cells powered by reformed naval logistic diesel fuel as a means of providing distributed ship service electrical power. Operation on diesel fuel requires a reformer system to remove sulfur and convert the synthesis gas into a hydrogen rich stream. Temperature control of the reformer system is made difficult because rapid changes in the fuel cell electrical load require rapid changes in the reactant flow rate. The current valve-based control system has several drawbacks, including increased system volume and pressure drop and decreased reliability. A heat exchanger based on Variable Conductance Heat Pipes VCHP-HX is currently under development. The VCHP-HX can passively regulate reactant temperature without a control valve and its attendant disadvantages. This paper presents the results to date of a VCHP-HX development program, including compatibility testing of candidate working fluid and wall materials, test data from a single VCHP, and test results from an array of VCHPs operating at reduced temperature. Suitable working fluids have been identified and the test results show good agreement with model predictions.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE