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Mixed POX/steam-reforming reactor design considerations

Fuel Cell Technology and Applications

Hydrogen storage and hydrogen generation

Reforming of methanol and fuel processor development

  1. J. Reinkingh,
  2. M. Petch

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470974001.f302014

Handbook of Fuel Cells

Handbook of Fuel Cells

How to Cite

Reinkingh, J. and Petch, M. 2010. Mixed POX/steam-reforming reactor design considerations. Handbook of Fuel Cells. .

Author Information

  1. Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells, Wayne, PA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


Proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) system developers for automotive applications are looking to generate hydrogen on-board a vehicle. Methanol is relatively easy to reform into a hydrogen-rich stream at moderate temperatures. Since methanol is a liquid, it is easy to handle and it has a good energy density.

The two processes applied to generate H2 from methanol are steam reforming and mixed partial oxidation (POX)/steam reforming (SR). In a mixed POX/SR reformer system reactor the oxidation and steam reforming reactions all take place in the same reactor. This type of reforming is also often referred to as autothermal reforming.

A mixed POX/SR reformer system reactor holds several advantages over a SR reformer system reactor. These include shorter start-up time, excellent transient performance and a compact reactor design. The efficiency of a mixed POX/SR fuel processor, if designed properly, should be similar to that of a steam reformer system.

Mixed POX/SR fuel processors have similar challenges to SR systems, which are heat integration, catalyst optimization and durability. The disadvantages are the dilution effect of the nitrogen from the air and the parasitic power loss of supplying the air when operated at pressure. Mixed POX/SR reformers are more suitable for near ambient pressure operation.


  • methanol;
  • partial oxidation;
  • steam reforming;
  • autothermal reforming;
  • reforming efficiency;
  • catalyst;
  • reactor design;
  • fuel processor