Superadiabatic Counterflow Reactor

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Conventional technologies for reforming rich hydrocarbon fuel/air mixtures or for oxidizing lean hydrocarbon mixtures generally rely on catalysis to promote the reactions. Catalysts can be expensive, have limited operating range, and are susceptible to "poisoning" if the hydrocarbon sources are not pure.

The invention is a mesoscale hydrogen reformation technology that can provide low cost, continuous reformation for an extremely wide range of fuel/oxidizer mixtures, including very lean or rich ones beyond the conventional flammability limits. The invention consists of counterflowing channels through which the reactants flow, allowing heat from one channel to preheat the gas from a neighboring channel. Under certain conditions, local maximum temperatures exceed the theoretical equilibrium temperature, thereby initiating combustion at extremely lean or rich conditions. No catalytic surfaces are necessary to achieve high conversion efficiencies

In comparison to catalytic reactors, the Superadiabatic Counterflow Reactor operates over a large range of inlet conditions. It is not subject to poisoning, so fuel purity is not an issue. In addition, the inert reactor is less expensive than a catalytic reactor. Compared to other inert superadiabatic reactors, this reactor may operate continuously without changing flow direction or restarting the process.


  • Requires no catalyst for operation
  • Highly efficient reformation
  • Scalable

Market Potential/Applications

This reactor may be used for reforming rich fuel/air mixtures to syngas or for oxidizing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in gaseous streams, as well as for the production of hydrogen in use for fuel cells.

For further information please contact

University of Texas,
Austin, USA
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