Catalytic Partial Oxidation of Isobutanol for the Production of Hydrogen

Report No. ARL-TR-5732
Authors: Jeffrey G. St. Clair, Ivan C. Lee, and Adam S. Gamson
Date/Pages: November 2011; 20 pages
Abstract: Catalytic partial oxidation of isobutanol was investigated at various contact times, as were equivalence ratios, for the purpose of H2 production. The reactor was tested using a ϒ-Al2O3-coated foam as a catalyst, as well as a similar foam with rhodium (Rh) added. Both catalysts achieved isobutanol conversion greater than 99% at an operating temperature of 500 °C for a contact time of 25 ms. The results show little H2 is produced when the Rh is absent, whereas selectivities as high as 62.92% were achieved with the noble metal present. The alumina catalyst also displays no complete combustion regime for fuel lean combustion; instead, olefins, carbon dioxide (CO2), and water are the dominant products at all equivalence ratios. With approximately 8.25 W of isobutanol, 3.61 W of H2 can be attained with the Rh catalyst for use in small power devices, such as a proton exchange membrane fuel cell.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: November 1, 2011