A hydrogen reformer furnace is a combustion chamber which is used to supply heat for the catalytic process that converts natural gas into hydrogen. The reforming reaction that happens inside the catalyst tubes is endothermic, requiring high levels of heat input. The combustion process in the hydrogen reformer furnace provides the heat to maintain the chemical reaction inside the catalyst tubes. Temperature control of the catalyst tubes is a fundamental design requirement of the hydrogen reformer furnace, as the temperature should be maintained in the range which could maximize catalyst reactivity while minimizing any damage to the catalyst pipes. As the furnace has two complicated chemical systems, the heat effect inside the tubes has been simplified by estimating the heat flux based on industry operation. Utilizing the multiphase and non-premixed combustion model using CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamic), the temperature and velocity distribution in the hydrogen reformer furnace have been investigated. Results show that parts of the catalyst tubes are overheated causing hot spots which could lead to premature aging of the pipes. Both the location of burners and maldistribution of the hot flue gas have a great impact on this issue.
- Heat Transfer Division
CFD Simulation of a Hydrogen Reformer Furnace
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Zheng, D, Wu, B, Fleitz, J, Trajkovski, R, & Zhou, CQ. "CFD Simulation of a Hydrogen Reformer Furnace." Proceedings of the 2010 14th International Heat Transfer Conference. 2010 14th International Heat Transfer Conference, Volume 3. Washington, DC, USA. August 8–13, 2010. pp. 233-244. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/IHTC14-23121
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