Optimal design of parallel channel patterns in a micro methanol steam reformer

Jiin Yuh Jang, Chin Hsiang Cheng, Yu Xian Huang, Chun I. Lee, Chih Hsing Leu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


This study describes the performance of micro methanol steam reformers with channel widths optimized using the simplified conjugate gradient method (SCGM), which uses a minimum objective function of the H 2 mass fraction standard deviation in channels. A three-dimensional numerical model and optimal simplified conjugate gradient algorithm were built to predict and search for the effects of channel widths and flow rate on the performance of chemical reactions. Furthermore, this simulation model was compared to; and corresponded well with existing experimental data. Distributions of velocity, temperature, and gas concentrations (CH 3OH, CO, H 2, and CO 2) were predicted, and the methanol conversion ratio was also evaluated. The mole fraction of CO contained in the reformed gas, which is essential to preventing poisoning of the catalyst layers of fuel cells, is also investigated. In the optimization search process, the governing equations use the continuity, momentum, heat transfer, and species equations to evaluate the performance of the steam reformer. The results show that channel width optimization can not only increase the methanol conversion ratio and hydrogen production rate but also decrease the concentration of carbon monoxide. The velocity and mixture gas density distributions in channels are discussed and plotted at various locations for an inlet liquid flow rate of 0.3 cc min -1. Full development is not obtained in the downstream channel flow, the velocity in channel is increased from 1.28 m s -1 to 2.36 m s -1 at location Y = 1 mm-32 mm, respectively. This can be attributed to a continuous increase in the lightweight H 2 species as a result of chemical reactions in the channels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16974-16985
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Nov

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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