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Research Papers: Energy Systems Analysis

On the Modeling of Steam Methane Reforming

[+] Author and Article Information
Esmail M. A. Mokheimer

Professor
Mechanical Engineering Department,
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals,
P.O. Box 279,
Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia
e-mail: esmailm@kfupm.edu.sa

Muhammad Ibrar Hussain

Mechanical Engineering Department,
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals,
P.O. Box 279,
Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia
e-mail: mibrarhussain@kfupm.edu.sa

Shakeel Ahmed

Research Scientist
Center for Refining and Petrochemicals,
Research Institute,
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals,
P.O. Box 279,
Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia
e-mail: shakeel@kfupm.edu.sa

Mohamed A. Habib

Professor
Mechanical Engineering Department,
KACST TIC on CCS,
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals,
P.O. Box 279,
Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia
e-mail: mahabib@kfupm.edu.sa

Amro A. Al-Qutub

Professor
Mechanical Engineering Department,
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals,
P.O. Box 279,
Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia
e-mail: aqutub@kfupm.edu.sa

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received June 4, 2014; final manuscript received June 23, 2014; published online July 29, 2014. Editor: Hameed Metghalchi.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 137(1), 012001 (Jul 29, 2014) (11 pages) Paper No: JERT-14-1175; doi: 10.1115/1.4027962 History: Received June 04, 2014; Revised June 23, 2014

Modeling and simulations of steam methane reforming (SMR) process to produce hydrogen and/or syngas are presented in this article. The reduced computational time with high model validity is the main concern in this study. A volume based reaction model is used, instead of surface based model, with careful estimation of mixture's physical properties. The developed model is validated against the reported experimental data and model accuracy as high as 99.75% is achieved. The model is further used to study the effect of different operating parameters on the steam and methane conversion. General behaviors of the reaction are obtained and discussed. The results showed that increasing the conversion thermodynamic limits with the decrease of the pressure results in a need for long reformers so as to achieve the associated fuel reforming thermodynamics limit. It is also shown that not only increasing the steam to methane molar ratio is favorable for higher methane conversion but the way the ratio is changed also matters to a considerable extent.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Steam methane reformer with operating conditions

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Fig. 2

Axisymmetric solution domain

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Fig. 3

Fractional methane conversion variation with the mesh size

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Fig. 4

Variation of fractional methane conversion versus Wcat/FCH4 at FH2O/FCH4 = 3, FH2/FCH4 = 1.25, and P = 10 bar

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Fig. 5

Usual temperature distribution inside SMR reformer [84]

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Fig. 6

Temperature distribution inside SMR reformer

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Fig. 7

Fractional methane conversion variation with Wcat/FCH4 at different temperature for FH2O/FCH4 = 3, FH2/FCH4 = 1.25, and P = 10 bar

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Fig. 8

Fractional methane conversion versus operating temperature at FH2O/FCH4 = 3, FH2/FCH4 = 1.25, and P = 10 bar

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Fig. 9

Pressure distribution inside the reformer

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Fig. 10

Fractional methane conversion versus exit pressure for FH2O/FCH4 = 3, FH2/FCH4 = 1.25, and T = 800 K

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Fig. 11

Fractional methane conversion versus Wcat/FCH4 at different operating pressure for FH2O/FCH4 = 3, FH2/FCH4 = 1.25, and T = 800 K

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Fig. 12

Fractional distance from equilibrium versus Wcat/FCH4 at 2 bar and 10 bar for FH2O/FCH4= 3, FH2/FCH4 = 1.25, and T = 800 K

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Fig. 13

Comparison of species mole fraction along the reformer length at 2 bar and 10 bar for FH2O/FCH4 = 3, FH2/FCH4 = 1.25, and T = 800 K

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Fig. 14

Fractional methane conversion versus average inlet feed velocity for FH2O/FCH4= 3, FH2/FCH4= 1.25, T = 800 K, and P = 10 bar

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Fig. 15

Kinetic reaction rate versus Wcat/FCH4 for FH2O/FCH4= 3, FH2/FCH4= 1.25, T = 800 K, and P = 10 bar

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Fig. 16

Fractional methane conversion versus FH2/FCH4 ratio for constant FH2/FCH4 ratio, T = 800 K, and P = 10 bar

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Fig. 17

Fractional methane conversion versus FH2O/FCH4 ratio for constant 1/nCH4 ratio, T = 800 K and P = 10 bar

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Fig. 18

Fractional methane conversion versus FH2/FCH4 ratio for constant FH2O/FCH4 ratio, T = 800 K and P = 10 bar

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