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Research Papers

Numerical Analysis of the Heat and Mass Transfer Characteristics in an Autothermal Methane Reformer

[+] Author and Article Information
Joonguen Park, Sunyoung Kim

Department of Mechanical Engineering, KAIST, 373-1, Guseong-Dong, Yuseong-Gu, Daejeon 305-701, Republic of Korea

Shinku Lee

Department of Environment and Energy Research Center, RIST, 32, Hyoja-Dong, Nam-Gu, Pohang 790-330, Gyeongbuk, Republic of Korea

Joongmyeon Bae1

Department of Mechanical Engineering, KAIST, 373-1, Guseong-Dong, Yuseong-Gu, Daejeon 305-701, Republic of Koreajmbae@kaist.ac.kr

1

Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 7(5), 051018 (Jul 20, 2010) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4000690 History: Received September 22, 2009; Revised September 25, 2009; Published July 20, 2010; Online July 20, 2010

This paper discusses a numerical analysis of the heat and mass transfer characteristics in an autothermal methane reformer. Assuming local thermal equilibrium between the bulk gas and the surface of the catalyst, a one-medium approach for the porous medium analysis was incorporated. Also, the mass transfer between the bulk gas and the catalyst’s surface was neglected due to the relatively low gas velocity. For the catalytic surface reaction, the Langmuir–Hinshelwood model was incorporated in which methane (CH4) is reformed to hydrogen-rich gases by the autothermal reforming (ATR) reaction. Full combustion, steam reforming, water-gas shift, and direct steam reforming reactions were included in the chemical reaction model. Mass, momentum, energy, and species balance equations were simultaneously calculated with the chemical reactions for the multiphysics analysis. By varying the four operating conditions (inlet temperature, oxygen to carbon ratio (OCR), steam to carbon ratio, and gas hourly space velocity (GHSV)), the performance of the ATR reactor was estimated by the numerical calculations. The SR reaction rate was improved by an increased inlet temperature. The reforming efficiency and the fuel conversion reached their maximum values at an OCR of 0.7. When the GHSV was increased, the reforming efficiency increased but the large pressure drop may decrease the system efficiency. From these results, we can estimate the optimal operating conditions for the production of large amounts of hydrogen from methane.

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Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

The computational domain of the autothermal reforming reactor

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Figure 2

Schematic diagram of experimental setup

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Figure 3

Comparison between experiment results and simulation results: (a) temperature at the center and (b) species at the reformer outlet

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Figure 4

Temperature and fuel conversion (a) and species and reforming efficiency (b) at various inlet temperatures

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Figure 5

Temperature and fuel conversion (a) and species and reforming efficiency (b) at various OCRs

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Figure 6

Temperature and fuel conversion (a) and species and reforming efficiency (b) at various SCRs

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Figure 7

Temperature and fuel conversion (a) and species and reforming efficiency (b) at various GHSVs

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