Software Development for Simulation of Reformer Furnace

Document Type : Research Article


Gas Research Division, Research Institute of Petroleum Industry (RIPI), Tehran, I.R. IRAN


In recent years, lots of research has been done on effective usage of natural gas; the first step in these processes is conversion of natural gas to Syngas. Natural gas reforming process by refomer furnace is commonly used for syngas and hydrogen production. In this paper, a windows based software, RIPI-RefSim, is introduced. By using proper heat, mass, kinetic and thermodynamic models as well as effect of catalyst shape,  the software has been developed for the reformer furnace simulation for syngas and hydrogen production. RIPI-RefSim could be used in three different modes (Rating, Simulation and Design) and provides user a detailed understanding of furnace performance, product characteristics, temperature, reaction rates and pressure drop profiles, heat loss, effect of catalyst shape, and etc.


[1] Adris, A. M., Pruden, B. B., Lim, C. J. and Grace, J. R., On Reported Attempts to Radically Improve the Performance of the Steam Methane Reforming Reactor, Can. J. Chem. Eng.,74, 177 (1996).
[2] Rostrup-Nielsen, J.R., Christiansen, L.J. and Bak Hansen, J.H., Activity of Steam Reforming Catalysts: Role and Assessment, Appl. Cat., 43, 287 (1988).
[3] Hyman, M., Simulate Methane Reformer Reactions, Hydrocarbon Processing, 47,131 (1968).
[4] Davies, J. and Lihou, D., Optimal Design of Methane Steam Reformer, Chem. Proc. Eng., 52, 71 (1971).
[5] Golebiowski, A. and Walas, T., Thermal Process in Catalytic Reforming of Methane with Water Vapor, Int. Chem. Eng., 13, 133 (1973).
[6] Singh, C. P. P. and Saraf, D. N., Simulation of Side Fired Steam Hydrocarbon Reformers, Ind. Eng. Chem. Process Des. Dev., 18 (1), (1979).
[7] Xu, J. and Froment, G. F., Steam Reforming, Methanation and Water-Gas Shift Reaction :II- Diffusion Limitation and Reactor Simulation, AIChE J., 35 (n1), 97 (1989).
[8] Elnashaie, S. S. E. H., Adris, A. M., Soliman, M. A., Al-Ubaid, A. S., Digital Simulation of Industrial Steam Reformers for Natural Gas Using Hetrogeneous Models, Can. J. Chem. Eng., 70, 786 (1992).
[9] Ferreira, R. M. Q., Marques, M. M., Babo, M. F., Rodrigues, A. E.,  Modeling of the Methane Steam Reforming Reactor with Large Pore Catalyst, Chem. Eng. Sci., 47 (9-11), 2909 (1992).
[10] Pedernera, M. N., Pina, J., Borio, D. O., Bucala, V., Use of a Hetrogeneous Two Dimensional Model to Improve the Primary Steam Reformer Performance, Chemical Eng. J., 94, 29 (2003).
[11] Soltan Mohammadzadeh, J. S. and Zamaniyan, A., Simulation of Terraced Wall Methane Steam Reforming Reactors, Iranian Journal of Science and Technology, 26 (n B2), 249 (2002).
[12] Rao, M. V. R., Plehiers, P. M. and Froment, G. F., The Coupled Simulation of Heat Transfer and Reaction in a Paralysis Furnace, Chem. Eng. Sci., 43(n6), 1223 (1988).
[13] Kudo, K., Taniguchi, H. and Guo, K., Heat Transfer Simulation in a Furnace for Steam Reformer, Heat Transfer Japanese Research, 20 (n8), 750 (1992).
[14] Holman, J.P., “Heat Transfer”, Mc-Graw Hill Inc., New York, 319-542 (1992).
[15] Hottle, H. C. and Sarofim, A. F., “Radiattive Transfer”, Mc-Graw Hill Inc., New York, (1967).
[16] Xu, J. and Froment, G.F., Methane Steam Reforming, Methanation and Water-Gas Shift : I- Intrinsic Kinetics, AIChE J., 35 (n1), 88 (1989).
[17] Fogler, H. S.,  “Elements of Chemical  Reaction Engineering”, Prentice-Hall International Inc., Toronto, 607-660(1992).
[18] Reid, R. C., Prausnitz,  J. M., Poling, B. E., “The Properties of Gases & Liquids:, McGraw-Hill, Toronto, 388-483 (1988).
[19] Bird, R.B., Stewart, W.E., Lightfoot, E.N., “Transport Phenomena”, John Wiley & Sons Inc., London, 793-797 (1966).
[20] Kunii, D. and Levenspiel, O., “Fluidization Engi-neering”, Butterworth-Hinemann, New York, 61-65 (1991).
[21] Soltan Mohammadzadeh, J. S. and Zamaniyan, A., Catalyst Shape as a Design Parameter Optimum Shape for Methane Steam Reforming Catalyst, Chemical Engineering Research and Design Journal, 80(n A), 383 (2002).