Progress on Modeling and Design of Membrane Reactors for Hydrogen Production
Murmura, M.A.
Cerbelli, S.
Annesini, M.C.
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Murmura M., Cerbelli S., Annesini M., 2017, Progress on Modeling and Design of Membrane Reactors for Hydrogen Production, Chemical Engineering Transactions, 57, 919-924.
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This paper presents an overview of recent research carried out by the authors on the development and analysis of mathematical models describing hydrogen production in membrane reactors. The case considered is that of methane steam reforming (SR) in a reactor with the typical double pipe configuration, in which a hydrogen-permeable membrane is present on the outer wall of the innermost tube. The model developed accounts for the rate of reaction, convective and dispersive transport in the axial and radial directions, and hydrogen permeation across the membrane. Density variations with pressure and gas composition have been accounted for, leading to a full coupling of mass and momentum transport. Different geometric aspect ratios have also been studied to assess the influence of catalyst volume on the overall performance of the system. The presence of two distinct transport regimes, in which hydrogen permeation is limited either by transport within the packed bed or permeation across the membrane, has been identified, along with the operating conditions that determine their range of existence. This has allowed the development of a simplified model, valid under the hypothesis that the reaction is fast compared to transport. In the permeation-controlled regime, the permeate flow rate and recovery may be found by solving a set of two PDEs, whereas an analytical solution is available for the transport-controlled regime. The main steps and observations that have brought to the development of the simplified model are presented, along with a guide to its implementation.
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