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RMR for Steam Reforming of Methane

Energy & Fuels Journal
The Energy & Fuels Journal has published an article written by Power and Energy’s Peter Bossard and Luis Breziner:

Radial Microchannel Reactors (RMRs) for Efficient and Compact Steam Reforming of Methane: Experimental Demonstration and Design Simulations

Authors: Benjamin A. Wilhite, Luis Breziner, Jacques Mettes, and Peter Bossard

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Abstract

This paper provides a first report of a novel radial microchannel reactor (RMR) architecture for catalytic steam reforming of methane to hydrogen and/or synthesis gas. A bench-scale RMR prototype with a channel width of 0.700 mm and wash-coated with 0.030 mm of a Ni-based catalyst is operated at 750 °C and 11 bar with feed composition of 25 mol % CH4, balance H2O. Results indicate that volumetric heat fluxes in excess of 150 W cm–3 are achievable at residence times of 6.8 ms, while volumetric heat fluxes in excess of 100 W cm–3 are observed at overall thermodynamic efficiencies >70%. Computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulations of the RMR design are demonstrated for accurately predicting methane steam reformer performance and, subsequently, for rapidly investigating the influence of microchannel dimensions upon RMR performance. Design simulations predict that 20–100% improvements in volumetric heat-transfer rates may be achieved by reducing channel widths from 0.700 to 0.300 mm.

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