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Dynamic modeling and control of a coupled reforming/combustor system for the production of H2 via hydrocarbon-based fuels

Ipsakis Dimitrios, Damartzis Theodoros, Papadopoulou Simira, Voutetakis, Spyros

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Year 2020
Type of Item Peer-Reviewed Journal Publication
Bibliographic Citation D. Ipsakis, T. Damartzis, S. Papadopoulou, and S. Voutetakis, “Dynamic modeling and control of a coupled reforming/combustor system for the production of H2 via hydrocarbon-based fuels,” Processes, vol. 8, no. 10, Oct. 2020. doi: 10.3390/pr8101243
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The present work aims to provide insights into the dynamic operation of a coupled reformer/combustion unit that can utilize a variety of saturated hydrocarbons (HCs) with 1–4 C atoms towards H2 production (along with CO2). Within this concept, a preselected HC-based feedstock enters a steam reforming reactor for the production of H2 via a series of catalytic reactions, whereas a sequential postprocessing unit (water gas shift reactor) is then utilized to increase H2 purity and minimize CO. The core unit of the overall system is the combustor that is coupled with the reformer reactor and continuously provides heat (a) for sustaining the prevailing endothermic reforming reactions and (b) for the process feed streams. The dynamic model as it is initially developed, consists of ordinary differential equations that capture the main physicochemical phenomena taking place at each subsystem (energy and mass balances) and is compared against available thermodynamic data (temperature and concentration). Further on, a distributed control scheme based on PID (Proportional–Integral–Derivative) controllers (each one tuned via Ziegler–Nichols/Z-N methodology) is applied and a set of case studies is formulated. The aim of the control scheme is to maintain the selected process-controlled variables within their predefined set-points, despite the emergence of sudden disturbances. It was revealed that the accurately tuned controllers lead to (a) a quick start-up operation, (b) minimum overshoot (especially regarding the sensitive reactor temperature), (c) zero offset from the desired operating set-points, and (d) quick settling during disturbance emergence.

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