Space Velocity as an Insufficient Parameter in the Steam-Reforming Process

P.A. Erickson, D.D. Davieau, R. Kamisky, and Z. Zoller (USA)


Hydrogen Energy, Space Velocity, Steam Reformation


Because of recent interest in efficiency, emissions and energy security, fuel cell power systems are thought by many to be the way of the future. Low temperature fuel cells optimally operate utilizing a pure hydrogen stream, thus the production of hydrogen becomes a paramount concern to those desirous of utilizing fuel cells in practical applications. Past investigations show that steam reformation of hydrocarbons is a feasible pathway for hydrogen production in fuel cell vehicles. In investigations of steam reformation, space velocity (or inverse residence time) is often used as a quasi non dimensional parameter for a flow rate and geometrical terms. However, when geometry changes of steam reformers occur, space velocity is insufficient to capture the results of these changes. This paper presents experimental data from a preliminary study of a methanol-steam reformer, which demonstrates the dilemma of using a space velocity term when flow rates and reactor geometry are modified.

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