Recent progress in the fuel cell technology has attracted research interests in providing hydrogen in a safe and efficient manner. One of viable approaches is to develop on-board catalytic fuel processors which converts higher hydrocarbon fuels into hydrogen. While this is a promising method and the level of catalytic material development is mature, the compact fuel processor system suffers from relatively low efficiency primarily due to the large surface-to-volume ratio causing excessive heat loss to the ambient. In this paper, a systematic modeling approach is presented as an effective tool to undertake extensive parametric study to identify crucial design parameters to accomplish optimal thermal management of the fuel processor system. By adopting a canonical counterflow heat exchanger system, effects of key system parameters, such as reactant and control flow rates, and inlet temperatures, on the system efficiency, conversion, and reactive length are investigated. The model is applied to a partial oxidation reactor and results are discussed.

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