Experimental and Theoretical Investigation of Solar Molten Media Methane Cracking for Hydrogen Production

  • Author / Creator
    Paxman, Derek E
  • Canada is the largest H2 consumer per capita in the world, giving a strong market demand for H2. H2 is commercially produced using steam CH4 reforming, which is energy and CO2 intensive. Solar molten metal CH4 cracking is an alternative zero emissions technology. Solar radiation is focused with large curved mirrors onto the molten metal. The molten media provides improved heat transfer, a thermal storage medium against transient solar flux, and a unique method of separating H2 and C. Blank and molten metal alumina tube reactors are studied from 1023 K to 1323 K. Plug flow, perfectly mixed, and combined perfectly mixed with a bypass (CPMR) reactor models were numerically implemented to simulate the blank reactor and determine the kinetic parameters. The CPMR model incorporated a third parameter that dictates how much how travels through the bypass. Results for the CPMR model showed k0 = 5.43e15 1/s, Ea = 420.7 kJ/mol and β = 0.426. The CPMR model was shown to have 8.3% ± 6.8% average error against data found in literature. Sn was selected as the bath material for the molten metal reactor (MMR), and the reaction gas was bubbled through the bath using an injector. 18.9% conversion was obtained at 1273 K, and near zero conversion for lower temperatures. A numerical model of the MMR was implemented using a spherical bubble model coupled with the CPMR model for the blank space above the molten metal. The MMR model showed that the majority of CH4 conversion occurred in the blank space above the bath. Decreasing bubble size and increasing bath height improved bubble conversion.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Secanell, Marc (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Flynn, Morris (Mechanical Engineering)
    • Kostiuk, Larry (Mechanical Engineering),
    • Secanell, Marc (Mechanical Engineering)