Mathematical modelling of low-temperature hydrogen production with in situ CO2 capture

Theoretical analysis of a process for low-temperature hydrogen production through steam methane reforming (SMR), based on the concept of adsorption-enhanced reaction, is presented. In the proposed process, mobile (pneumatically conveyed) adsorbent particles are passed through a stationary SMR catalyst monolith. Adsorbent regeneration is carried out in an external unit, thus decoupling the reaction and adsorbent regeneration steps, and allowing continuous operation. Heat for reaction is also supplied via the regeneration unit (via the thermal capacitance of the adsorbent), and thus effective energy integration is possible between the reactor and regenerator units. A mathematical model accounting for non-isothermal reaction and adsorption, mass transfer limited adsorption kinetics and non-linear (Langmuirian) adsorption equilibria, has been developed. The performance of the adsorptive reactor in terms of conversion enhancement is presented in this paper. Simulation results indicate considerable conversion enhancement through the use of a flowing adsorbent medium. The importance of the correct selection of operating parameters, i.e., adsorbent mass flow rate and temperature, on the process feasibility is also highlighted.