Research Papers: Energy Systems Analysis

A Novel Reactor Configuration for Industrial Methanol Production From the Synthesis Gas

[+] Author and Article Information
Payam Parvasi

Department of Chemical,
Petroleum and Gas Engineering,
Shiraz University of Technology,
Shiraz 13876-71557, Iran

Seyyed Mohammad Jokar

Department of Chemical,
Petroleum and Gas Engineering,
Shiraz University of Technology,
Shiraz 13876-71557, Iran
e-mail: jokar@sutech.ac.ir

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received May 26, 2018; final manuscript received November 11, 2018; published online December 24, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Esmail M. A. Mokheimer.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 141(4), 042007 (Dec 24, 2018) (7 pages) Paper No: JERT-18-1363; doi: 10.1115/1.4042025 History: Received May 26, 2018; Revised November 11, 2018

In this work, the methanol synthesis on a commercial industrial catalyst in a novel cylindrical radial flow packed-bed reactor is investigated. The adiabatic and nonadiabatic cylindrical radial flow reactors were proposed and modeled in this research. The proposed configuration has been compared with conventional reactor for methanol production. It leads to higher methanol production and lower pressure drop, with the same catalyst consumption. Furthermore, the results show that the nonadiabatic radial flow packed-bed reactor has a higher methanol content compared with the adiabatic one. The improvement in methanol production was studied by optimizing the essential parameters such as inlet temperatures of the feed and cooling water as well as the number of cooling tubes. The nonlinearity and complexity of the reactor models make the traditional optimization methods ineffective and improbable. Therefore, the process was optimized by genetic algorithm (GA) method, which is one of the most powerful methods. The optimum values for the number of cooling tubes, feed and cooling water temperatures were 308, 507.6 K, and 522.43 K, respectively. The optimization results showed that a new reactor design could be proposed to reduce the cost of methanol synthesis.

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Fig. 1

Conventional packed bed reactor

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Fig. 2

Cylindrical adiabatic radial flow reactor

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Fig. 3

(a) Methanol mole fraction versus reactor radius in adiabatic radial flow reactor, (b) temperature versus reactor radius in adiabatic radial flow reactor, (c) methanol mole fraction versus reactor length in conventional reactor, and (d) temperature versus reactor length in conventional reactor

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Fig. 4

Cylindrical nonadiabatic radial flow reactor: (a) front view and (b) top view

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Fig. 5

The comparison of (a) methanol mole fraction and (b) temperature profiles along the radius of adiabatic and nonadiabatic radial flow reactor

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Fig. 6

(a) Mole fraction of methanol versus different number of cooling tubes and (b) temperature versus reactor radius in nonadiabatic radial flow reactor for four different cooling tube numbers

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Fig. 7

The trend of optimum fitness function values obtained from GA for the feed and the inlet cooling water temperatures

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Fig. 8

Methanol mole fraction at optimized and normal conditions



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