463882 Spatially Resolved 3D-CFD Simulation of a Packed Bed Membrane Reactor for Steam Reforming

Wednesday, November 16, 2016: 3:15 PM
Franciscan B (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Nico Jurtz1, Thomas Eppinger2 and Matthias Kraume1, (1)Chair of Chemical and Process Engineering, Technische Universit├Ąt Berlin, D-10587 Berlin, Germany, (2)CD-adapco, Nuremberg, Germany

Spatially resolved 3D-CFD simulation of a packed bed membrane reactor for steam reforming

Nico Jurtz1, Thomas Eppinger2, Matthias Kraume1

1Chair Chemical and Process Engineering, TU Berlin, Berlin, Germany;

2CD-adapco, Nuremberg, Germany;



Due to the progressing climate change and crude oil depletion a shift to renewable resources is needed. Hydrogen and syngas are important feedstocks in the chemical and process industry and are used in a variety of processes like methanol synthesis, the Haber-Bosch process or the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis.

One route for syngas generation is the catalytic steam reforming of methane or biogas in packed bed reactors (PBR). Recent studies show the potential of process intensification by hydrogen removal with semi-permeable membranes. Packed bed catalytic membrane reactors show an increased methane conversion compared to PBR’s (Chibane, 2011).

For a reliable but coast efficient design of that reactor type Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is a valuable tool. Although due to the low tube-to-particle diameter ratio local wall effects play an important role recent numerical studies only used pseudo-homogenous approaches often combined with the assumption of a constant transmembrane species flux.

The current work will overcome that simplifications and show how spatially resolved 3D-CFD simulations help to improve the reactor design by including all relevant phenomena like fluid flow through the complex bed topology, heat transfer, catalytic chemical surface reaction and a locally resolved transmembrane species flux.

For the packed bed the DEM-CFD coupled method by (Eppinger, 2011) is used. The transmembrane flux is modelled using an approach presented at the AIChE Annual Meeting 2015 (Jurtz, 2015) that uses a conformal interface to calculate the local membrane flux.


Chibane, L., Djellouli, B., 2011. Methane Steam Reforming Reaction Behavior in a Packed Bed Membrane Reactor. IJCEA, Vol. 2, No. 3, 147-155.

Eppinger, T., Seidler, K., Kraume, M., 2011. DEM-CFD simulations of fixed bed reac-tors with small tube to particle diameter ratios. Chem. Eng. J. 166, 324-331.

Jurtz, N., Eppinger, T., Aglave, R., 2015. A CFD Study on the Impact of Convective Flow Characteristics and Species Distribution on the Performance of Full-Scale Membrane Reactors. AIChE Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City

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See more of this Session: Syngas Production and Gas-to-Liquids Technology
See more of this Group/Topical: Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Division