Copper-zinc oxide catalyst/ceramic fiber composites were successfully prepared using a papermaking technique. As-prepared catalyst materials, called catalyst paper, were used in autothermal reforming (ATR) of methanol to produce hydrogen for fuel cell applications. The performance of the catalyst paper for hydrogen production in the ATR process at 250 °C was twice as high as that of commercially available catalyst pellets. The concentration of carbon monoxide, which acts as a catalytic poison for the Pt anode electrocatalyst of fuel cells, decreased remarkably. Furthermore, the gas generation with catalyst paper was much more stable than with catalyst powder or with pellets, resulting in constant hydrogen production. Such interesting features may be caused by the unique porous structure of paper composites that allows heat and reactants to be supplied effectively onto the catalyst surfaces. In addition, the ATR stability with catalyst paper improved considerably when ZSM-5 zeolite was mixed within the catalyst paper. Therefore, the porous, flexible and easy-to-handle catalyst paper is expected to be a promising catalytic material for enhancing practical performance in the catalytic reforming process.
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