Production d'hydrogène dans un réacteur microstructuré: couplage thermique entre le steam reforming et l'oxydation totale du méthanol

The aim of this work was to operate the steam reforming of methanol and the total oxidation of methanol in a microstructured two-passage reactor. The steam reforming enables the production of hydrogen at relatively low temperatures (250 °C) with only a small amount of carbon monoxide (  1%). After a cleaning step (CO preferential oxidation, for example), this hydrogen would be a good feed for a fuel cell to produce electricity for mobile applications. Steam reforming is an endothermic reaction. The energy needed to run this reaction is produced by the total oxidation, a strongly exothermic reaction. To allow an efficient heat transfer between these two reactions, a microstructured reactor was used. These structures, with dimensions in the micron range, are widely known to have far better heat transfer capacity than traditional heat exchangers. Furthermore, these structures have some unique features with respect to classical reactors. A narrow residence time distribution, close to that of a plug flow reactor, can be obtained, keeping selectivity high for complex reactions. Microstructured reactors also have small residence time, allowing very quick variations in the feed and experimental conditions. In chapter 4, the concepts relating to the channel coatings will be presented. A Cu/Zn/Al catalyst provided by Süd-Chemie was transformed into a suspension of nanoparticles in isopropanol by using an attrition grinding apparatus. A thin layer ( 5 µm) of catalyst was formed on the microchannel walls. Several tests were performed to characterize the adhesion of this layer. The influence of the layer on the residence time distribution was also investigated; it was possible to maintain Bodenstein numbers as high as 50. Chapter 5 is focused on the steam reforming of methanol, the reaction that generates hydrogen. A kinetic analysis in differential and integral modes established that the rate of the reaction is inhibited by hydrogen, the main product of the reaction; the partial order is - 0.2. The influence of water on the rate of reaction is negligible (partial order of 0.1), and methanol has a positive partial order of 0.7. A kinetic constant of 5.57 · 10-6 mol0.4 · (m3)0.6 · gcat-1 · s-1 at 200 °C and an activation energy of 73.9 kJ · mol-1 complete the description of the kinetics of the steam reforming. Throughout the comparisons, we showed that the catalyst coated in the microchannels has an initial rate for the steam reforming 30% higher than the original catalyst in fixed bed. We can therefore conclude that the catalyst modification procedure does not diminish the catalyst activity. This was also shown by comparing our results with results available in the scientific literature for similar catalysts. CO2 selectivity remains high and constant then decreases as 90% conversion is approached. Working with an excess of water with respect to methanol contributes to keeping the selectivity high. A molar ratio of 1.2 is a good compromise between selectivity and increased energy costs due to the vaporization of the additional water. It's also beneficial to work at conversions below 90% to be in the high selectivity domain and to diminish the inhibiting influence of hydrogen. Finally, we showed that this catalyst deactivates over 100 hours at a temperature of 300 °C. A kinetic model for the deactivation at temperatures between 300 °C and 330 °C was established. In chapter 6 the total oxidation of methanol was studied. A cobalt based catalyst was developed to allow the synchronization of the two reactions temperatures. The minimum temperature for complete conversion for the total oxidation reaction must clearly not exceed an acceptable working temperature for the steam reforming catalyst (i.e. a temperature that results in an acceptable catalyst lifetime). A kinetic analysis determined partial orders for methanol and oxygen as 0.67, the kinetic constant at 230 °C as 5.45 · 10-3 mmol-0.33 · m4 · (gcat · s)-1 and the activation energy as 130 kJ · mol-1. The copper based catalyst used for the steam reforming of methanol was also active for the total oxidation of methanol. Unfortunately the minimal temperature to ensure a total conversion was not compatible with the working temperature of the steam reforming. In chapter 7, the results concerning the coupling of the two previously studied reactions are presented. The numerous fittings and cables necessary for the operation of the reactor didn't allow the reactor to be run in an autothermal mode. Therefore constant, not regulated, heating was used to compensate the thermal losses. By coupling the two reactions and by studying the dynamic response time of the reactor (temperature and conversion of the steam reforming reaction) at the time of stopping and starting the oxidation reaction, we've seen that the temperature increase was around +10 °C within 60 seconds and that the conversion for the steam reforming of the methanol fitted well with the temperature increase. This reactor also has good dynamics and responds quickly to feed variations. When the coupling mode was changed from co-current to counter-current we noticed a significant increase in conversion. Furthermore, selectivity in counter-current mode remained high, even for conversion approaching 100%.

    Thèse École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne EPFL, n° 2830 (2003)
    Section de chimie
    Faculté des sciences de base
    Institut de sciences des procédés chimiques et biologiques
    Laboratoire de génie de la réaction chimique
    Jury: Oliver Goerke, Kai Johnsson, Michaël Matlosz, Michel Rossi

    Public defense: 2003-8-8


    Record created on 2006-04-24, modified on 2016-08-08

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