A Combined Gas-Phase and Surface Reaction Mechanistic Model of Diesel Surrogate Reforming for SOFC Application
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This study presents a detailed gas-phase and surface kinetic model for n-tetradecane autothermal reforming to deconvolute the complex reaction network that provides the mechanistic understanding of reforming chemistry in a packed-bed reactor. A thermodynamic analysis study for diesel reforming was performed to map the carbon formation boundary for various reforming processes. Through a Langmuir-Hinshelwood-Hougen-Watson (LHHW) type of kinetic model, which was derived using a simple mechanistic study, the need for a detailed kinetic study including both gas-phase reactions and surface reactions was identified. Pt-CGO (Pt on Gd doped CeO2) and Rh-pyrochlore catalysts were synthesized and characterized. In an accelerated test for reforming of commercial-diesel, Rh-pyrochlore catalyst showed stable performance for 24 hrs, whereas Pt-CGO catalyst deteriorated in 4 hrs. Minimum structural change in Rh-pyrochlore catalyst compared to Pt-CGO catalyst was observed using redox experiments. An experimental kinetic study with an inert silica bed provided clear evidence that the gas-phase reactions are important to the kinetics of hydrocarbon reforming. “Reaction Mechanism Generator” (RMG) software was employed to generate a detailed gas-phase kinetic model containing nine thousand three hundred and forty-seven elementary reactions and four hundred and fifty-nine species. The model was validated against n-tetradecane ignition delay data, and inert bed autothermal reforming data. The RMG model was also extended to capture the high pressure and low temperature pyrolysis chemistry to predict pyrolysis experimental data. The reactor simulation using the RMG model identified the detailed chemistry of the reactions in the pre-catalytic zone. Gas-phase oxidation/pyrolysis converts the heavier hydrocarbons and oxygen in the pre-catalytic zone to lower molecular weight products prior to reaching the catalyst surface. The steam reforming reactions that are dominant on the surface of the catalyst primarily involve lower molecular weight oxidation/pyrolysis products. A multi-component micro-kinetic model containing two hundred and seventy surface reactions and fifty-two adspecies was developed using a semi-empirical Unity Bond Index-Quadratic Exponential Potential (UBI-QEP) method. Transition State Theory estimates were used for elementary reactions up to C3 species, and simple fragmentation reactions were assumed for higher hydrocarbon species. Model simulations indicated on the catalyst surface that hydrogen is initially produced by the water-gas-shift reaction and subsequently by steam reforming reactions. A major reaction path for ethylene formation from 1,3 butadiene in the post-catalytic zone of the reactor was also identified.