This paper provides a theoretical basis for the investigation of using acoustic waves as a means of enhancing performance in conjunction with the hydrocarbon fuel steam-reforming process for application in fuel cell vehicles. In order to minimize liabilities associated with steam-reforming, a novel reforming enhancement is being investigated.
A reformation process that utilizes acoustic fields in critical fluid paths is introduced. Potential benefits of using acoustic fields in the reformation process are decreased effective space velocity, an increase of convective heat transfer rates, and increased specie mixing that would help produce an increase in capacity and overall reaction rate for a given reformer volume. The proposed acoustic enhancement should result in some combination of quicker start up times, faster dynamic response, smaller size and lower weight.