Addressing Societal Energy Challenges through Technology Innovation: Thermochemical Recuperation for Hydrogen Enriched Combustion

David Vernon, University of California

Friday, November 20, 2009, 3:30pm

Spanos Auditorium

This seminar is part of the Jones Seminars on Science, Technology, and Society series

Modern energy systems present important opportunities for efficiency improvement, particularly through integration of systems for multiple service extraction by redefining waste as an input to subsequent processes. This presentation introduces my research on the utilization of waste heat to produce hydrogen, as well as the use of hydrogen enrichment to improve efficiency and reduce emissions in internal combustion engines.

Addition of hydrogen to air-fuel mixtures in spark ignition engines has been shown to enable ultra-lean or high exhaust gas recirculation operation that increases efficiency and reduces emissions.

Thermochemical recuperation (TCR) processes utilize heat from the combustion exhaust stream to power catalytic reformation of the primary fuel in order to efficiently generate a hydrogen-rich gas for hydrogen enrichment. Under some conditions TCR will increase the net heating value of the processed fuel. My research has explored novel application of autothermal reformation techniques to TCR in order to utilize waste heat over a wide range of temperatures while providing a stable source of hydrogen.

Integration of TCR and hydrogen enrichment of spark ignition engines has the potential for 30% increases in efficiency and 95% reductions in engine-out NOx emissions. By focusing research on waste resource utilization technologies we can increase systems integration and achieve transformational increases in efficiency and sustainability across a wide range of applications.

About the Speaker

David Vernon has a B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an M.S. in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering from the University of California, Davis, where he is currently a Ph.D. candidate. After graduating from UW Madison, David worked for five years in fuel cell research and development with W.L. Gore and Associates, Los Alamos National Lab, Polyfuel Inc., and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Since 2003 David has been pursuing a Ph.D. in Mechanical & Aeronautical Engineering, with a minor in Transportation Technology and Policy, at the University of California Davis. David's M.S. research characterized the heat transfer limitations for hydrogen production by endothermic steam reformation. His doctoral research leverages this previous work with a focus on using exhaust waste heat for thermochemical recuperation and hydrogen enrichment of internal combustion engines to reduce emissions and improve efficiency. David's future research will focus on integrated design of energy systems for multiple service extraction by using waste as an input to subsequent processes.