The main objective of this study is to foresee the performance of a PEM fuel cell generator operating as an emergency backup power system. The fuel cell generator is fuelled by hydrogen supplied by a compact reforming system. The reforming system must be able to use a carbon-based fuel, such as natural gas, standard gasoline or diesel to generate hydrogen for clean, on-site electrical power production. Hydrogen generation is provided by a non-catalytic reformer using high-voltage discharges to assist the exothermic partial oxidation process. Thermo-chemical modelling has been implemented considering both reforming system and hydrogen purification unit. The purification and separation unit must be able to produce high purity hydrogen because concentration of CO has to be strongly reduced before entering the fuel cell stack. A comparative performance analysis of different fuels for hydrogen generation has been provided. Thermochemical modelling has been conducted by means of Aspen Plus code.

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