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ChemEngineering 2018, 2(3), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/chemengineering2030034

CFD Simulation of Ethanol Steam Reforming System for Hydrogen Production

Israel Military Industries Ltd., Ramat Hasharon 47100, Israel
Received: 26 May 2018 / Revised: 26 July 2018 / Accepted: 30 July 2018 / Published: 2 August 2018
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Abstract

Hydrogen could be a promising source fuel, and is often considered as a clean energy carrier as it can be produced by ethanol. The use of ethanol presents several advantages, because it is a renewable feedstock, easy to transport, biodegradable, has low toxicity, contains high hydrogen content, and easy to store and handle. Reforming ethanol steam occurs at relatively lower temperatures, compared with other hydrocarbon fuels, and has been widely studied due to the high yield provided for the formation of hydrogen. A new computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation model of the ethanol steam reforming (ESR) has been developed in this work. The reforming system model is composed from an ethanol burner and a catalytic bed reactor. The liquid ethanol is burned inside the firebox, then the radiative heat flux from burner is transferred to the catalytic bed reactor for transforming the ethanol steam mixture to hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The proposed computational model is composed of two phases—Simulation of ethanol burner by using Fire Dynamics Simulator software (FDS) (version 5.0) and a multi-physics simulation of the steam reforming process occurring inside the reformer. COMSOL multi-physics software (version 4.3b) has been applied in this work. It solves simultaneously the fluid flow, heat transfer, diffusion with chemical reaction kinetics equations, and structural analysis. It is shown that the heat release rate produced by the ethanol burner, can provide the necessary heat flux required for maintaining the reforming process. It has been found out that the mass fractions of the hydrogen and carbon dioxide mass fraction are increased along the reformer axis. The hydrogen mass fraction increases with enhancing the radiation heat flux. It was shown that Von Mises stresses increases with heat fluxes. Safety issues concerning the structural integrity of the steel jacket are also addressed. This work clearly shows that by using ethanol which has low temperature conversion, the decrease in structural strength of the steel tube is low. The numerical results clearly indicate that under normal conditions of the ethanol reforming (The temperature of the steel is about 600 °C or 1112 °F), the rupture time of the HK-40 steel alloy increases considerably. For this case the rupture time is greater than 100,000 h (more than 11.4 years). View Full-Text
Keywords: ethanol burner; ethanol steam reformer; catalytic bed reactor; hydrogen production; fuel cell; CFD; Fire Dynamic Simulation software (FDS); Large Eddy Simulation (LES); radiative heat flux; convective heat flux; Multi-physics Simulation; Darcy Flow Equation; chemical kinetics; arrhenius coefficients; diffusion equation; heat transfer; thermal expansion; structural analysis; steel tube; HK-40 alloy; ultimate tensile strength; rupture time ethanol burner; ethanol steam reformer; catalytic bed reactor; hydrogen production; fuel cell; CFD; Fire Dynamic Simulation software (FDS); Large Eddy Simulation (LES); radiative heat flux; convective heat flux; Multi-physics Simulation; Darcy Flow Equation; chemical kinetics; arrhenius coefficients; diffusion equation; heat transfer; thermal expansion; structural analysis; steel tube; HK-40 alloy; ultimate tensile strength; rupture time
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Davidy, A. CFD Simulation of Ethanol Steam Reforming System for Hydrogen Production. ChemEngineering 2018, 2, 34.

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