This paper presents the use of advanced computer simulation (coupled Computational Fluid Dynamics and process modeling) to determine the effects of burner change out in a steam-methane reformer (SMR). SMR’s are used to generate hydrogen for oil refinery operation and synthesis gas for chemical plant production. A stream of natural gas and steam reacts inside a large number of catalyst-filled tubes housed inside the SMR furnace. Burner replacement in the furnace can result in reduced hydrogen production, decreased efficiency, and unstable operation. To help select a suitable replacement burner and optimize furnace performance CFD modeling was used to identify the impact of different burners on the following key SMR design parameters: • Local heat flux profiles on the reformer tubes; • Local peak and average reformer tube skin temperatures; • Heat Flux in the pre-heat tubes; • SMR Hydrogen production and process conditions. With a replacement burner selected, the ‘coupled’ CFD model was then used to predict the burner-firing pattern that maximizes hydrogen production within the SMR design constraints.

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