Hydrogen being a green fuel is rapidly gaining importance in the energy sector. Steam methane reforming is one of the most industrially important chemical reaction and a key step in the production of high purity hydrogen. Due to inherent deficiencies of conventional reforming reactors, a new concept based on fluidized bed membrane reactor is getting the focus of researchers. In this work, a nickel-based fluidized bed membrane reactor model is developed in the Aspen PLUS® process simulator. A user-defined membrane module is embedded in the Aspen PLUS® through its interface with Microsoft® Excel. Then, a series combination of Gibbs reactors and membrane modules are used to develop a nickel-based fluidized bed membrane reactor. The model developed for nickel-based fluidized bed membrane reactor is compared with palladium-based membrane reactor in terms of methane conversion and hydrogen yield for a given panel of major operating parameters. The simulation results indicated that the model can accurately predict the behavior of a membrane reactor under different operating conditions. In addition, the model can be used to estimate the effective membrane area required for a given rate of hydrogen production.

Mustafa Kamal Pasha, Iftikhar Ahmad, Jawad Mustafa, Manabu Kano