Optimizing the catalyst distribution for countercurrent methane steam reforming in plate reactors

Monica Zanfir, Michael Baldea, Prodromos Daoutidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Microscale autothermal reactors remain one of the most promising technologies for efficient hydrogen generation. The typical reactor design alternates microchannels where reforming and catalytic combustion of methane occur, so that exothermic and endothermic reactions take place in close proximity. The influence of flow arrangement on the autothermal coupling of methane steam reforming and methane catalytic combustion in catalytic plate reactors is investigated. The reactor thermal behavior and performance for cocurrent and countercurrent are simulated and compared. A partial overlapping of the catalyst zones in adjacent exothermic and endothermic channels is shown to avoid both severe temperature excursions and reactor extinction. Using an innovative, optimization-based approach for determining the catalyst zone overlap, a solution is provided to the problem of determining the maximum reactor conversion within specified temperature bounds, designed to preserve reactor integrity and operational safety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2518-2528
Number of pages11
JournalAIChE Journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011


  • Mathematical modeling
  • Numerical solutions
  • Optimization
  • Reactor analysis

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Optimizing the catalyst distribution for countercurrent methane steam reforming in plate reactors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this