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Reactor Temperature Profile during Catalytic Partial Oxidation on Rh/Al2O3 Catalyst In a Reverse Flow Reactor

Lucia Salemme, Marino Simeone, and Laura Menna. Dipartimento di Ingegneria Chimica, UniversitÓ di Napoli Federico II, Napoli, 80125, Italy

Catalytic Partial Oxidation of Methane (CPOM) in a reverse flow reactor is a promising process for decentralized syngas and hydrogen production. This reactor configuration couples feed preheating and syngas production in the same unit through a periodic inversion of the feed. Thanks to reactor compactness, this technology is particularly indicated for small and medium scale plants.

However, the higher catalyst entrance temperature obtained thanks to the internal heath exchange between the hot effluent gas and the cold feed, although positive in terms of product composition, can thermally damage the catalyst and reduce its performance and lifetime. Accurate measurements of catalyst temperature profile provide an important insight to assess the thermal stress developed during reverse flow operation.

In this work, we present a systematic investigation on reactor performance and catalyst temperature profile during CPOM in a reverse flow reactor with commercial Rh/Al2O3 catalyst in pellets.

Temperature profile of the catalyst bed was measured by IR thermography and product composition was measured with a continuous gas analyzer.

The effect of internal heat recovery on reactor performance and catalyst thermal stress is presented and compared to steady state operation. Feed direction switching time, total flow rate and methane to oxygen ratio were investigated as process operating parameters.

Data of catalyst bed temperature evolution during the flow cycle are presented and discussed.

Comparison of dynamic heat integration with external feed preheating in terms of product composition and catalyst temperature profile is also presented.