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Optimizing the catalyst distribution for counter‐current methane steam reforming in plate reactors


Microscale autothermal reactors remain one of the most promising technologies for efficient hydrogen generation. The typical reactor design alternates microchannels where reforming and catalytic combustion of methane occur, so that exothermic and endothermic reactions take place in close vicinity. The present paper investigates the influence of flow arrangement on the autothermal coupling of methane steam reforming and methane catalytic combustion in catalytic plate reactors. The reactor thermal behaviour and performance for co‐current and counter‐current are simulated and compared. A partial overlapping of the catalyst zones in adjacent exothermic and endothermic channels is shown to avoid both severe temperature excursions and reactor extinction. Using an innovative, optimization‐based approach for determining the catalyst zone overlap, a solution is provided to the problem of determining the maximum reactor conversion within specified temperature bounds, designed to preserve reactor integrity and operational safety. © 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2010

Authors:   Monica Zanfir; Michael Baldea; Prodromos Daoutidis
Journal:   AIChE Journal
Year:   2011
Pages:   2518
DOI:   10.1002/aic.12474
Publication date:   01-Sep-2011
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