(629g) Theoretical Study of Externally Imposed Temperature Profiles In Continuous Reactors and Optimal Profiles for Exothermic Reacions

Cruz, D. A., Universidad de los Andes
Vargas, W. L., Universidad de los Andes

It is well known that imposing external axial temperature profiles, evidently improves conversion in exothermic reactions that are limited by chemical equilibrium. In the past, this kind of approaches were not possible to implement, due to the difficulties in  keeping a reactor at the energetic and reactions conditions required; a situation that demands very precise schemes of control. With technological advances, micro-reactor technologies have increased the possibilities for implementation of externally imposed temperature profiles, in order to reach high conversions in this kind of reactive systems. Three basic archetypal externally imposed temperature profiles have aptly been explored, particularly in micro-structured reactors: convex, gaussian and linear profiles. Results in the literature indicate that depending on reaction conditions, any of the three above-mentioned profiles can lead to higher conversions, with convex been a promising one. 

In the first part of this work,  three different generic reactions, namely: water gas shift,  sulfur dioxide oxidation and amonia synthesis will be tested with each one of this prototypical profiles and their results compared in terms of conversion levels. In the second part of this contribution, an alternative aproximation is proposed.  This approach involves a formulation of an optimization problem in which we search for the optimal profile, using optimization tecniques and numerical analysis. The metodology of such aproximation will be illustrated using the water-gas shift reaction as example in order to compare the results with the best temperature profiles described in the literature.