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Estimation of Parameters for the Bohart-Adams Model

Christopher P. Thurgood, Department of Chemistry & Chemical Engineering, Royal Military College, Kingston, ON K7K 7B4, Canada

The vision of the Hydrogen Economy is to use renewable energy to power Fuel Cells. Power systems based on this pattern have reduced carbon footprint, minimal production of pollutants and potentially high efficiency. Biomass is of particular interest as large quantities of plant and wood (cellulose) residues are generated annually and are presently considered a waste product.

Anaerobic Digesters are a commercial, well established, technology for converting a wide range of biomass (manure and some plant residues) into a benign solids product and a methane rich gas (biogas).

A number of demonstration projects have shown that Fuel Cells can operate on biogas, a pattern of energy production that is a realization of the Hydrogen Economy.

The biogas contains a number of contaminants, such as hydrogen sulphide, that are detrimental to Fuel Cells. Currently, adsorbent beds are the primary technology for the removal of these containments. These beds must be sized correctly in order to protect the Fuel Cell but not oversized in order to minimize capital and operating costs.

The Bohart-Adams model is widely used to size fixed bed adsorbers. A critical role of the model is to fit it to breakthrough curves from laboratory beds, extract model parameters and use the parameters to design the commercial adsorber. With properly calibrated parameters, the design of the bed can proceed with confidence.

This article investigates the method of fitting the Bohart-Adams model to breakthrough data, using methanol adsorption on activated carbon as a test case, and computes the consequent error in the model parameters.