MEMS-Based Fuel Reformer with Suspended Membrane Structure

Kuei Sung Chang, Shuji Tanaka, Masayoshi Esashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


We report a MEMS-based fuel reformer for supplying hydrogen to micro-fuel cells for portable applications. A combustor and a reforming chamber are fabricated at either side of a suspended membrane structure. This design is used to improve the overall thermal efficiency, which is a critical issue to realize a micro-fuel reformer. The suspended membrane structure design provided good thermal isolation. The micro-heaters consumed 0.97W to maintain the reaction zone of the MEMS-based fuel reformer at 200 oC, but further power saving is necessary by improving design and fabrication. The conversion rate of methanol to hydrogen was about 19% at 180° C by using evaporated copper as a reforming catalyst. The catalytic combustion of hydrogen started without any assistance of micro-heaters. By feeding the fuel mixture of an equivalence ratio of 0.35, the temperature of the suspended membrane structure was maintained stable at 100°C with a combustion efficiency of 30%. In future works, we will test a micro-fuel reformer by using a micro-combustor to supply heat. Keywords : Micro-fuel reformer, Steam reforming, Thermal management, Fuel cell, Suspended membrane reactor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-350
Number of pages5
JournalIEEJ Transactions on Sensors and Micromachines
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • Fuel cell
  • Micro-fuel reformer
  • Steam reforming
  • Suspended membrane reactor
  • Thermal management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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