Argonne national laboratory has been developing fuel processing technologies for fuel cell based electric power. We have reported the development of novel catalysts that are active and selective for hydrocarbon reforming reactions. It has been realized, however, that with pellet or conventional honeycomb catalysts, the reforming process is mass transport limited. This paper reports the development of catalyst structures with microchannels that are able to reduce the diffusion resistance and thereby achieve the same production rate within a smaller reactor bed. These microchannel reforming catalysts were prepared and tested with natural gas and gasoline-type fuels in a microreactor (1-cm dia.) at space velocities of up to 250,000 per hour. These catalysts have also been used in engineering-scale reactors (10 kWe, 7-cm dia.) with similar product qualities. Compared to pellet catalysts, the microchannel catalysts enable a nearly 5-fold reduction in catalyst weight and volume.

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