Hydrogen production by steam reforming of DME in a large scale CFB reactor. Part I: computational model and predictions

Francis A. Elewuwa, Yassir T. Makkawi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study presents a computational fluid dynamic (CFD) study of Dimethyl Ether steam reforming (DME-SR) in a large scale Circulating Fluidized Bed (CFB) reactor. The CFD model is based on Eulerian-Eulerian dispersed flow and solved using commercial software (ANSYS FLUENT). The DME-SR reactions scheme and kinetics in the presence of a bifunctional catalyst of CuO/ZnO/Al2O3+ZSM-5 were incorporated in the model using in-house developed user-defined function. The model was validated by comparing the predictions with experimental data from the literature. The results revealed for the first time detailed CFB reactor hydrodynamics, gas residence time, temperature distribution and product gas composition at a selected operating condition of 300 °C and steam to DME mass ratio of 3 (molar ratio of 7.62). The spatial variation in the gas species concentrations suggests the existence of three distinct reaction zones but limited temperature variations. The DME conversion and hydrogen yield were found to be 87% and 59% respectively, resulting in a product gas consisting of 72 mol% hydrogen. In part II of this study, the model presented here will be used to optimize the reactor design and study the effect of operating conditions on the reactor performance and products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15865-15876
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number46
Early online date31 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2015

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2015, The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of Hydrogen Energy Publications, LLC. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Funding: EPSRC (Ref EP/J501797/1).


  • dimethyl ether
  • fluidized bed
  • hydrogen
  • modelling
  • steam reforming


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