2D heat and mass transfer modeling of methane steam reforming for hydrogen production in a compact reformer

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Compact reformers (CRs) are promising devices for efficient fuel processing. In CRs, a thin solid plate is sandwiched between two catalyst layers to enable efficient heat transfer from combustion duct to the reforming duct for fuel processing. In this study, a 2D heat and mass transfer model is developed to investigate the fundamental transport phenomenon and chemical reaction kinetics in a CR for hydrogen production by methane steam reforming (MSR). Both MSR reaction and water gas shift reaction (WGSR) are considered in the numerical model. Parametric simulations are performed to examine the effects of various structural/operating parameters, such as pore size, permeability, gas velocity, temperature, and rate of heat supply on the reformer performance. It is found that the reaction rates of MSR and WGSR are the highest at the inlet but decrease significantly along the reformer. Increasing the operating temperature raises the reaction rates at the inlet but shows very small influence in the downstream. For comparison, increasing the rate of heat supply raises the reaction rates in the downstream due to increased temperature. A high gas velocity and permeability facilitates gas transport in the porous structure thus enhances reaction rates in the downstream of the reformer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-163
Number of pages9
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Compact reformer
  • Fuel processing
  • Heat and mass transfer
  • Hydrogen production
  • Porous media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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