Compact and efficient fuel reforming system design is a major challenge because of strict requirements of efficient heat distribution on both the reforming and combustion side. As an alternative to traditional packed bed tubular reformers, catalytic flat plate fuel reformer offers better heat integration by combining the combustion reaction on one side and reforming reaction on the other side. In this study, with the help of a two-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model, a catalytic flat plate fuel reformer is built and investigated its performance experimentally. The CFD model simulation results help to capture the effect of design parameters such as catalyst layer thickness, reaction rates, inlet temperature and velocity, and channel height. The CFD model study results also help to design and built the actual reformer in such a way that eliminate the limitations or uncertainties of heat and mass transfer coefficients. In our study, we experimentally evaluated the catalytic flat plate fuel reformer performance using natural gas. The effect of reformate gas on the current-voltage characteristics of a 5kW high temperature PEM fuel cell (HTPEMFC) stack is investigated extensively. The results shows that the overall system performance increases in terms of current-voltage characteristics of HTPEMFC while fed with reformate directly from the catalytic flat plate reformer.

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