Numerical and experimental study on the thermal characteristics of a steam reformer
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In this study, the performance evaluation of a cylindrical natural-gas steam reformer is experimentally and numerically performed with a special focus on thermal operation conditions. The evaluation system is configured to probe the thermal and chemical characteristics of a steam reformer that does not employ a high temperature shift and a low temperature shift. The acquired experimental data is used to validate the proposed numerical model. A combination of experimental and numerical data provides detailed information leading to a better understanding of the internal reaction. An appropriate control of the heat source in the steam reformer is extremely important because the endothermic process is dominant throughout the catalyst layer. The results indicate that the thermal efficiency is enhanced by appropriately managing combustor heat, reactant concentration, and inflow rates as implemented by inlet gas control into the main reactor and combustor. A parametric study of operation control variables, such as Steam to carbon ratio (SCR) and combustible reactant ratio, could determine the optimal values for the highest thermal performance.
KeywordsSteam reformer Fuel cell Combustion Evaluation apparatus
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