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NUMERICAL MODELLING AND PARAMETRIC STUDIES OF STEAM REFORMERS

DOI: 10.1615/ICHMT.2009.CONV.1300
page 11

C. Ventura
Dep. Eng. Mecanica, Instituto Superior Técnico, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal

Joao Luis Toste Azevedo
Technical University of Lisbon; Dep. Eng. Mecanica, Instituto Superior Técnico, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal

Abstract

This paper presents the application of a numerical model that was developed to describe the Steam Reforming Process (SRP model) in a small-scale reformer. The reformer consists of a burner enclosed in a vessel while the reforming reaction occurs in channels with multiple passages installed around the vessel. The SRP model was implemented in C language and is used as a User Defined Function (UDF) in the commercial program Fluent.
The SRP model is a one-dimensional representation of the reforming channels that surround the burner enclosure and was previously validated against experimental data and a Fluent based simulation. The burner is simulated with a 2D approximation that was also previously evaluated against both experimental and 3D burner calculations. The reformer and burner model are coupled by the temperature distribution in the dividing wall that is updated by the SRP model.
The present paper presents applications of the burner model and the coupled reformer model. The objective of the study is the scale-up of an existing reformer from 5 to 10 kg/day hydrogen production. Keeping the initial dimensions of the burner and doubling the flow rates, the model is used to analyze the position of the radiation shield on temperature and heat flux distribution. The simulations for the coupled model are used to analyze the effects of modifying the catalyst reaction length, position and the global dimensions of the reformer using a geometric scale up factor.

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