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Research Papers

Transport Mechanism of Steam Methane Reforming on Fixed Bed Catalyst Heated by High Temperature Helium for Hydrogen Production: A Computational Fluid Dynamics Investigation

[+] Author and Article Information
Feng Wang

Key Laboratory of Low-grade Energy Utilization
Technologies and Systems,
College of Power Engineering,
Ministry of Education,
Chongqing University,
Chongqing 400030, China
e-mail: wangfeng@cqu.edu.cn

Ziqiang Yang

College of Power Engineering,
Chongqing University,
Chongqing 400030, China
e-mail: 489321198@qq.com

Long Wang

College of Mechanical Engineering,
Chongqing University,
Chongqing 400030, China
e-mail: 50850292@qq.com

Qiang Wen

College of Power Engineering,
Chongqing University,
Chongqing 400030, China
e-mail: 20151002041@cqu.edu.cn

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received August 28, 2017; final manuscript received May 12, 2018; published online January 24, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Dmitry Paramonov.

ASME J of Nuclear Rad Sci 5(1), 011020 (Jan 24, 2019) (8 pages) Paper No: NERS-17-1100; doi: 10.1115/1.4040377 History: Received August 28, 2017; Revised May 12, 2018

In this study, we numerically evaluated the performance of a steam methane reforming (SMR) reactor heated using high-temperature helium for hydrogen production. The result showed that with an increase in the reactant gas inlet velocity, the temperature at the same reactor length position decreased. The maximum gas temperature difference at the gas collection chamber reached approximately 55 °C. The outlet temperature difference increased to 35 °C when the inlet temperature increased from 370 °C to 570 °C. A higher inlet temperature did not have a positive effect on the system's thermal efficiency. The methane conversion rate increased by 68%, and the hydrogen production rate increased by 55%, when the helium inlet velocity increased from 2 m/s to 22 m/s. When the helium inlet temperature increased by 200 °C, the highest temperature of the reactant gas increased by 132 °C. In the SMR for hydrogen production using a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR), low reactant-gas inlet velocity, suitable inlet temperature, high inlet velocity, and a high HTGR outlet temperature of helium were preferable.

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Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

HTGR-heated SMR reactor (a), reactor inlet (b), and gas collection chamber (c)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Two-dimensional model (a) and the grids (b): 1—wall of helium casing, 2—wall of catalyst tube, 3—wall of inner tube, 4—central line, 5—catalyst bed, and 6—gas collection chamber

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Temperature distributions at different reactant gas inlet velocities: (a) Vin = 3 m/s, (b) Vin = 8 m/s, and (c) Vin = 13 m/s

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Fig. 4

Mass fraction distribution of methane at reactant gas inlet velocity of 3 m/s

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Fig. 5

Variation of XCH4, YH2/CH4, and YH2 with reactant inlet velocity

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Fig. 6

Variation of XCH4, YH2/CH4, and YH2 with reactant inlet temperature

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Fig. 7

Temperature distribution of the reactor at different reactant gas inlet temperatures: (a) Tr,in = 370 °C, (b) Tr,in = 370 °C, and (c) Tr,in = 370 °C

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Temperature distribution at different helium inlet velocities

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Fig. 9

Mass fraction distribution of methane and hydrogen

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Fig. 12

Temperature distribution at different helium inlet temperatures

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Fig. 11

Variation of XCH4, YH2/CH4, YH2, and η with helium inlet temperature

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

Variation of XCH4, YH2/CH4, YH2, and η with helium inlet velocity

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