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Performance Study on Methanol Steam Reforming Rib Micro-Reactor with Waste Heat Recovery


Automobile exhaust heat recovery is considered to be an effective means to enhance fuel utilization. The catalytic production of hydrogen by methanol steam reforming is an attractive option for onboard mobile applications, due to its many advantages. However, the reformers of conventional packed bed type suffer from axial temperature gradients and cold spots resulting from severe limitations of mass and heat transfer. These disadvantages limit reformers to a low efficiency of catalyst utilization. A novel rib microreactor was designed for the hydrogen production from methanol steam reforming heated by automobile exhaust, and the effect of inlet exhaust and methanol steam on reactor performance was numerically analyzed in detail, with computational fluid dynamics. The results showed that the best operating parameters were the counter flow, water-to-alcohol (W/A) of 1.3, exhaust inlet velocity of 1.1 m/s, and exhaust inlet temperature of 773 K, when the inlet velocity and inlet temperature of the reactant were 0.1 m/s and 493 K, respectively. At this condition, a methanol conversion of 99.4% and thermal efficiency of 28% were achieved, together with a hydrogen content of 69.6%.

Funding source: This research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (50906104).
Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain

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