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Advances in Materials Science and Engineering
Volume 2010, Article ID 325683, 12 pages
Research Article

A Phenomenological Study on the Synergistic Role of Precious Metals in the Steam Reforming of Logistic Fuels on Trimetal-Supported Catalysts

Chemical Engineering Department, The University of Toledo, 2801 W. Bancroft Street, Toledo, OH 43606-3390, USA

Received 24 August 2010; Accepted 12 October 2010

Academic Editor: Meilin Liu

Copyright © 2010 Abdul-Majeed Azad and Desikan Sundararajan. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Fuel processors are required to convert sulfur-laden logistic fuels (jet fuels, diesel, and coal) into fuel cell quality hydrogen-rich reformate with little or no sulfur for extended periods. Sulfur poisons and deactivates the reforming catalyst, therefore, sulfur-tolerant catalysts ought to be developed. In this paper, the development, characterization, and evaluation of a series of nanoscale ceria-supported reforming catalysts containing three noble metals in low concentration (1 wt% ≤ total metal loading ≤ 1.33 wt%) for the steam-reforming of kerosene (a JP-8 surrogate) are reported. Their performance is quantified in terms of H2 yield, tolerance towards sulfur in the fuel, and the on-stream stability and compared with that of monometal and bimetal analogs under identical conditions. Due to the inherent cooperative synergy, a trimetal catalyst was found far superior to its mono- and bimetallic analog containing same amount of the precious metal loading in terms of quality of the reformate (measured by H2 level in steady-state) as well as the catalyst longevity on-stream prior to deactivation. At the same time a mechanistic correlation between the distinct role of a given precious metal and the extent of its loading in each of the formulations and quality of the corresponding desulfurized H2-rich reformate was discovered.