The invention relates to fuel cell systems with improved thermal efficiency. The systems include a fuel cell that generates electrical energy using hydrogen and a fuel processor that produces hydrogen from a fuel. Some heat efficient systems described herein include a thermal catalyst that generates heat when the catalyst interacts with a heating medium. The heat is used to heat the fuel cell. The thermal catalyst may be disposed in proximity to the fuel cell, or remote from the fuel cell and a heat transfer pipe conducts heat from the catalyst to the fuel cell. Another thermally efficient embodiment uses a recuperator to transfer heat generated in the fuel cell system to incoming fuel. A fuel cell package may also include a multi-layer insulation arrangement to decrease heat loss from the fuel cell and fuel processor, which both typically operate at elevated temperatures.
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