Most fuel cell vehicle (FCV) developers believe that a liquid fuel is needed to make fuel cell cars viable beyond a niche market opportunity. Reforming hydrocarbon fuels to a hydrogen rich gas is a well established industrial process - the challenge for powertrain developers is to engineer inexpensive, very compact reformers capable of quick start-up and fast dynamic response.
Current development work within the industry is focused on methanol, from which it is relatively easy to extract hydrogen. Gasoline reforming is more complex, requiring much higher temperatures than methanol reforming. Furthermore a gasoline reformer yields a lower concentration of hydrogen than methanol, thus limiting fuel cell stack efficiency.
Orbital has applied its specialist powertrain and combustion engineering skills at two distinct developmental challenges. Our computer aided design and numerical simulation techniques have been utilised by clients to study the distribution and flow through various FC stack designs, whilst in another application Orbital's air assist direct injection hardware has been used to study optimisations to the performance of a gasoline reformer. Your project too can take advantage of these advanced development capabilities.