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Research Papers

A New Approach for Modeling the Thermal Behavior of Methane Catalytic Partial Oxidation Monolith Reactors

[+] Author and Article Information
S. Cordiner

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome 00133, Italy

G. de Simone

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome 00133, Italyde.simone@ing.uniroma2.it

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 7(1), 011020 (Nov 11, 2009) (11 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3120272 History: Received February 06, 2008; Accepted January 13, 2009; Published November 11, 2009; Online November 11, 2009

A comprehensive computational model for the design of methane catalytic partial oxidation monolith reactors for hydrogen production has been developed and tested with respect to available experimental data. Allowing a simplified description of the heat release mechanism associated with the reforming process, the model represents a useful tool to address performances and durability issues in the design process of full scale catalytic reformers. The characteristic temperature peak along the catalyst channels, which is experimentally observed as a result of the competitive action of fuel complete oxidation and steam reforming is, in fact, a fundamental parameter to be controlled during the design process and is a complex function of catalyst formulation, mixture composition, and actual operating conditions. To address this issue in the present paper the heat release law mechanism has been studied with a new approach named heat release curves model (HRCM), which decouples the thermofluid dynamic analysis of real geometries from the modeling of heterogeneous chemistry. The model uses heat release curves extrapolated from detailed heterogeneous chemistry calculation or experimental measurements as the basis of a simplified, although still predictive, evaluation of the heat released, which allows a substantial reduction in computational costs. Validation of HRCM model (including heat release profiles approximation) with respect to more detailed simulations and available experimental data shows very good predictive capabilities with a maximum error lower than the 4% over a wide number of analyzed cases (accounting for several O/C ratios, inlet velocities, channel dimensions, and mean temperatures). Although presented for natural gas reforming the present model may be easily extended to different fuels.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Geometrical approximation of channels

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Figure 2

Molar fraction of methane—comparison between numerical versus experimental

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Figure 3

Molar fraction of oxygen—comparison between numerical versus experimental

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Figure 4

Molar fraction of hydrogen—comparison between numerical versus experimentals

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Figure 5

Axial specie profiles at the wall—O/C=1.0, inlet velocity 0.5 m/s, inlet temperature 573 K, absolute pressure of 1.0 bar

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Figure 6

Relative axial profiles at the wall—O/C=1.0, inlet velocity 0.5 m/s, inlet temperature 573 K, absolute pressure of 1.0 bar

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Figure 7

Equivalent heat release curve—O/C=1.0, inlet velocity 0.5 m/s, inlet temperature 573 K, absolute pressure of 1.0 bar

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Figure 8

Equivalent heat release curve +1×108 W/m3 in logarithmic scale—O/C=1.0, inlet velocity 0.5 m/s, inlet temperature 573 K, absolute pressure of 1.0 bar

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Figure 9

Heat release curve approximation—O/C=1.0, inlet velocity 0.5 m/s, inlet temperature 573 K, absolute pressure of 1.0 bar

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Figure 10

Axial temperature profiles (radial averaged): comparison between detailed model versus HRCM (O/C=1.0, inlet velocity 0.5 m/s, inlet temperature 573 K, absolute pressure of 1.0 bar)

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Figure 11

Error on axial temperature profiles (radial averaged): comparison between detailed model versus HRCM (O/C=1.0, inlet velocity 0.5 m/s, inlet temperature 573 K, absolute pressure of 1.0 bar)

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Figure 12

Axial specific heat profiles (radial averaged): comparison between detailed model versus HRCM (O/C=1.0, inlet velocity 0.5 m/s, inlet temperature 573 K, absolute pressure of 1.0 bar)

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Figure 13

Error on axial specific heat profiles (radial averaged): comparison between detailed model versus HRCM (O/C=1.0, inlet velocity 0.5 m/s, inlet temperature 573 K, absolute pressure of 1.0 bar)

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Figure 14

Axial temperature profiles (radial averaged): comparison between detailed model versus HRCM (O/C=1.2, inlet velocity 1.0 m/s, inlet temperature 573 K, absolute pressure of 1.0 bar, nonadiabatic conditions)

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Figure 15

Error on axial temperature profiles (radial averaged): comparison between detailed model versus HRCM (O/C=1.2, inlet velocity 1.0 m/s, inlet temperature 573 K, absolute pressure of 1.0 bar, nonadiabatic conditions)

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