M.Sc Thesis

M.Sc StudentKadosh Netanel
SubjectInvestigation of the Performance Characteristics of a
Cylindrical Catalyst in the Process of Steam
DepartmentDepartment of Mechanical Engineering
Supervisor PROF. Eran Sher


Methanol can be reformed with steam as a hydrogen carrier in the presence of Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 catalyst. A complete pseudo-homogenous model of a packed-bed reformer has been developed in this research, to investigate the influence of the operating conditions and the geometric parameters on its performance. Kinetic Langmuir-Hinshelwood model was chosen to describe the process along the reactor including pressure drop, mass and heat transfer phenomena. The Kinetic Langmuir model's predictions were compared with the values obtained experimentally at different temperatures and pressures, and the experimental values validated the model predictions.

 As part of this work, a miniaturized methanol reactor was designed and analysed at a wide range of temperatures and pressures to define the required parameters for maximum hydrogen output. Simulations were performed using MATLAB to study the process parameters effects. Mass and energy balance equations were derived for each component in the reactor. Effectiveness of the catalyst was calculated for a wide range of catalyst particle sizes and the Ergun equation was used to model the pressure drop. It was found that the pressure drop is negligible for a range of catalyst particle sizes. A suitable reactor and an evaporator were designed to oxidize methanol to produce sufficient heat for the steam reforming reactions. Based on the calculation of methanol flow, at non-isothermal conditions, sufficient heat is generated to complete the conversion of methanol. All the experimental values were compared to the theoretical values and the results pointed out that the factors below are beneficial for high production of hydrogen:

         Larger catalyst radius increases hydrogen output.

         Temperature has a strong effect on the conversion rate of hydrogen.

         Optimal conversion rate can be achieved with a certain geometrical design.

Keywords: packed bed reactor, reforming of methanol, production of hydrogen, catalyst, simulation.