Steam methane reforming over a preheated packed bed: Heat and mass transfer in a transient process

Igor Karpilov*, Dmitry Pashchenko

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The primary method of large scale hydrogen production is steam methane reforming (SMR) in the packed bed reactors filled with the catalysts. In these reactors, heat is mostly supplied through the reactor wall to compensate for the endothermic effect of SMR reactions. In this paper, an alternative route of steam methane reforming process over a preheated packed bed filled with Ni-based catalyst particles was studied. Consequent packed bed heating with hot flue gas and cooling with H2O - CH4 endothermically reacting mixture was investigated. Numerical model has been developed for the cooling and heating processes and realized via Ansys Fluent. The analyses were performed for various steam-to-methane ratios and different initial temperature distributions. Results are indicating that the packed bed volume averaged temperature increases by 98 °C after 15 s of heating with flue gas. Packed bed cools down by more than 125 °C after 15 s of the SMR process. Mixture species distribution was also analysed along the reformer length. Hydrogen outlet molar fraction constantly decreases from 0.38 to 0.25 at the process beginning and end, respectively. The highest hydrogen production was observed on the half of the packed bed closer to the reformer outlet.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101868
JournalThermal Science and Engineering Progress
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Hydrogen-rich fuel
  • Methane
  • Numerical modelling
  • Preheated catalyst bed
  • Steam methane reforming


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