The presented paper focuses on a numerical analysis of a heat and mass transfer process in a novel type of methane/steam reforming reactor. The novelty of the macro-patterned reactor design lies in dividing a reformer into segments of various lengths and reactivity. Precisely, splitting the catalyst and filling the created empty volume with porous, non-reactive, thermal conducting material such as metallic foam. This approach allows for moderating a sharp temperature drop at the inlet of the reactor typical for the endothermic methane/steam reforming process. To analyze the considered system, the mathematical and numerical models of transport phenomena and the reaction kinetics were developed and implemented into an in-house solver. The kinetics of methane/steam reforming was taken from the literature. The outlet composition obtained from the kinetic model was compared with the experimental measurements and good agreement was found. The conducted numerical analysis includes cases that differ from a number and lengths of catalytic and non-catalytic segments. The obtained results indicate that the macro-patterned design is a promising strategy that allows for a significant improvement of temperature distribution in a reforming reactor. It was shown that the proposed approach could help to cut the cost of the catalyst material by allowing for the conversion of methane with a smaller amount of the catalyst close to the reference case.
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