THE DEVELOPMENT OF A METAL PLATE TEST REACTOR FOR STUDYING REACTION KINETICS ON CATALYTICALLY COATED HEAT TRANSFER COMPONENTS
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A novel catalytic metal plate test reactor was designed, built and commissioned. The overall dimensions of the whole assembly were 215 mm long 75 mm wide 60 mm deep. A strip of stainless steel with dimensions of 150 mm long 15 mm wide 1.59 mm thick was partly coated with catalyst and sealed between the two reactor parts. The design provided a single channel flow pattern that could be easily modeled to extract kinetic parameters. A key feature of the reactor design was effective heat transfer to promote isothermal operation. A series of thermocouples was incorporated into the reactor to measure the temperature profile along the reactor. Performance of the reactor was verified using a well characterized commercially available Cu/Zn/Al2O3 catalyst from BASF. The goal of this experimentation was to determine the conversion, rate constant and activation energy for methanol steam reforming and compare these with previously published measurements. Methanol conversion was measured at slightly higher than atmospheric pressure at temperatures of 220, 240 and 260 °C. Steam to water ratio of feed was maintained at one during the experimental program. The feed rate of methanol was varied to obtain a catalyst to feed ratio between 6 and 20 kgs mol-1. The composition of reformate and methanol conversion were studied with temperature and flow rate of the feed. An increase from 27.68 to 41.61% in methanol conversion was observed increasing the reaction temperature from 220 to 240°C. An irreversible first order rate constant was calculated using the experimentally measured conversion and space time. The apparent activation energy (Ea) based on a first order plug flow design operation was 96±4 k.J.mol-1 and agreed well with the values of 77-105.1 kJmol-1 reported in the literature.