Hydrogen Program



and outreach

Autothermal Cyclic Reformer 

Electrolyzer and Reversible Fuel Cell

High Temperature Fuel Cell

Advanced Central Power Plants

Autothermal Cyclic Reformer


General Electric Global Research has developed a novel fuel reforming system called the Autothermal Cyclic Reformer (ACR).  The ACR system has been integrated and operated with a hydrogen purification system and a fuel cell power system at the NFCRC.

The ACR takes advantage of the oxidative states of metals as the system cycles through its modes of operation in order to increase hydrogen concentration in the generated synthesis gas.  The system includes two reformer reactors, a water gas shift reactor, and all balance of plant and control components required for sustained operation.  Maximum capacity is 60 kg H2 per day.

GE Autothermal cyclic reformer photo
GE Autothermal Cyclic Reformer installed in the NFCRC laboratory

Praxair, Inc. participated in the project by providing a novel pressure swing adsorption (PSA) hydrogen purification system.  The PSA separates hydrogen from carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane in the synthesis gas generated by the ACR.  Hydrogen purity of 99.9-99.99% H2 was demonstrated in February 2006 with the integrated system.  This is sufficient purity for fueling hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicles.

Praxair Pressure Swing photo
Praxair Pressure Swing Adsorber installed in the NFCRC laboratory

NFCRC research focused on operation of a PEM fuel cell system with synthesis gas generated by the ACR system.  A Plug Power GenCore 5 kW fuel cell system was selected as the test platform for this work.  Testing performed to date has helped quantify how a PEM fuel cell stack responds to fluctuations in fuel flow rate and composition.

Plug Power GenCore Fuel Cell System photo
Plug Power GenCore fuel cell system.

Figure: Experimental Set up at NFCRC
Experimental Setup at NFCRC



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