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Microtechnology and microscale fuel processing

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2 Author(s)

Microtechnology or microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) is a viable and promising method to facilitate such highly compact power sources through the integration of a fuel cell with all operation units of a fuel processor. Using microtechnology to process high-density hydrocarbon fuels appears to be an encouraging method to supply hydrogen fuel for feeding portable fuel cells. In addition, microtechnology can be a strong enabling aspect of the portable fuel processors due to the advantageous heat and mass transport that results from scaling. Hydrogen fuel processing is not a trial. To date, hydrogen storage does not have an efficient approach. Traditionally, hydrogen is usually intensely pressurized and stored in a pressure vessel. In a liquid form, hydrogen can only be stored under cryogenic temperatures. Thus, generating hydrogen from constituent gases as required solves storage and transportation issues. Although portable hydrogen fuel is a widely researched topic, the ability to generate hydrogen as required by convenient means is critical. This article begins with a discussion of the conventional, large-scale hydrogen reforming technique. It then focuses on using microtechnology for fuel processing and its associated challenges, as well as its integration with fuel cells. The prospect of using different fuel-processing techniques at microscale is discussed and concluded.

Published in:

IEEE Nanotechnology Magazine  (Volume:3 ,  Issue: 2 )