Biodiesel is considered as a renewable hydrogen source for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). This study contributes to a fundamental understanding of biodiesel auto-thermal reforming (ATR), which has not yet been widely explored in the open literature. Ultra-lower sulfur diesel (ULSD) ATR is established as a baseline for this analysis. Solid carbon formation during AT R has been recognized as a primary degradation mode in solid oxide fuel cell-based auxiliary power unit systems in transportation applications, but is difficult to detect and control. To overcome these challenges, this work applies a direct photo-acoustic method to analyze carbon dynamic evolutions and quantify the carbon formation in a single-tube reformer under various operating conditions (temperature, steam/carbon ratio, and oxygen/carbon ratio). The key objective is to locate the optimum operating environment for biodiesel ATR with carbon-free deposition and peak hydrogen yield. Thermodynamic analysis based on the method of total Gibbs free energy minimization is used to evaluate the equilibrium reformate compositions. The experimental investigations complimented with the theoretical analysis of biodiesel ATR helps effectively optimize the onboard reforming conditions.

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