Commenced in January 2007
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autothermal reforming Related Abstracts

2 Viability Analysis of a Centralized Hydrogen Generation Plant for Use in Oil Refining Industry

Authors: C. Fúnez Guerra, B. Nieto Calderón, M. Jaén Caparrós, L. Reyes-Bozo, A. Godoy-Faúndez, E. Vyhmeister


The global energy system is experiencing a change of scenery. Unstable energy markets, an increasing focus on climate change and its sustainable development is forcing businesses to pursue new solutions in order to ensure future economic growth. This has led to the interest in using hydrogen as an energy carrier in transportation and industrial applications. As an energy carrier, hydrogen is accessible and holds a high gravimetric energy density. Abundant in hydrocarbons, hydrogen can play an important role in the shift towards low-emission fossil value chains. By combining hydrogen production by natural gas reforming with carbon capture and storage, the overall CO2 emissions are significantly reduced. In addition, the flexibility of hydrogen as an energy storage makes it applicable as a stabilizer in the renewable energy mix. The recent development in hydrogen fuel cells is also raising the expectations for a hydrogen powered transportation sector. Hydrogen value chains exist to a large extent in the industry today. The global hydrogen consumption was approximately 50 million tonnes (7.2 EJ) in 2013, where refineries, ammonia, methanol production and metal processing were main consumers. Natural gas reforming produced 48% of this hydrogen, but without carbon capture and storage (CCS). The total emissions from the production reached 500 million tonnes of CO2, hence alternative production methods with lower emissions will be necessary in future value chains. Hydrogen from electrolysis is used for a wide range of industrial chemical reactions for many years. Possibly, the earliest use was for the production of ammonia-based fertilisers by Norsk Hydro, with a test reactor set up in Notodden, Norway, in 1927. This application also claims one of the world’s largest electrolyser installations, at Sable Chemicals in Zimbabwe. Its array of 28 electrolysers consumes 80 MW per hour, producing around 21,000 Nm3/h of hydrogen. These electrolysers can compete if cheap sources of electricity are available and natural gas for steam reforming is relatively expensive. Because electrolysis of water produces oxygen as a by-product, a system of Autothermal Reforming (ATR) utilizing this oxygen has been analyzed. Replacing the air separation unit with electrolysers produces the required amount of oxygen to the ATR as well as additional hydrogen. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the technical and economic potential of large-scale production of hydrogen for oil refining industry. Sensitivity analysis of parameters such as investment costs, plant operating hours, electricity price and sale price of hydrogen and oxygen are performed.

Keywords: Natural Gas, Hydrogen, autothermal reforming, electrolyser, steam methane reforming

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1 Numerical Model of Crude Glycerol Autothermal Reforming to Hydrogen-Rich Syngas

Authors: A. Odoom, A. Salama, H. Ibrahim


Hydrogen is a clean source of energy for power production and transportation. The main source of hydrogen in this research is biodiesel. Glycerol also called glycerine is a by-product of biodiesel production by transesterification of vegetable oils and methanol. This is a reliable and environmentally-friendly source of hydrogen production than fossil fuels. A typical composition of crude glycerol comprises of glycerol, water, organic and inorganic salts, soap, methanol and small amounts of glycerides. Crude glycerol has limited industrial application due to its low purity thus, the usage of crude glycerol can significantly enhance the sustainability and production of biodiesel. Reforming techniques is an approach for hydrogen production mainly Steam Reforming (SR), Autothermal Reforming (ATR) and Partial Oxidation Reforming (POR). SR produces high hydrogen conversions and yield but is highly endothermic whereas POR is exothermic. On the downside, PO yields lower hydrogen as well as large amount of side reactions. ATR which is a fusion of partial oxidation reforming and steam reforming is thermally neutral because net reactor heat duty is zero. It has relatively high hydrogen yield, selectivity as well as limits coke formation. The complex chemical processes that take place during the production phases makes it relatively difficult to construct a reliable and robust numerical model. Numerical model is a tool to mimic reality and provide insight into the influence of the parameters. In this work, we introduce a finite volume numerical study for an 'in-house' lab-scale experiment of ATR. Previous numerical studies on this process have considered either using Comsol or nodal finite difference analysis. Since Comsol is a commercial package which is not readily available everywhere and lab-scale experiment can be considered well mixed in the radial direction. One spatial dimension suffices to capture the essential feature of ATR, in this work, we consider developing our own numerical approach using MATLAB. A continuum fixed bed reactor is modelled using MATLAB with both pseudo homogeneous and heterogeneous models. The drawback of nodal finite difference formulation is that it is not locally conservative which means that materials and momenta can be generated inside the domain as an artifact of the discretization. Control volume, on the other hand, is locally conservative and suites very well problems where materials are generated and consumed inside the domain. In this work, species mass balance, Darcy’s equation and energy equations are solved using operator splitting technique. Therefore, diffusion-like terms are discretized implicitly while advection-like terms are discretized explicitly. An upwind scheme is adapted for the advection term to ensure accuracy and positivity. Comparisons with the experimental data show very good agreements which build confidence in our modeling approach. The models obtained were validated and optimized for better results.

Keywords: Hydrogen, numerical model, crude glycerol, autothermal reforming

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