CFD Simulation of Dimethyl Ether Synthesis from Methanol in an Adiabatic Fixed-bed Reactor

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

1 Department of Gas Engineering, Petroleum University of Technology

2 Research Institute of Petroleum Industry (RIPI)

Abstract

A computational fluid dynamic (CFD) study of methanol (MeOH) to dimethyl ether (DME) process in an adiabatic fixed-bed reactor is presented. One of the methods of industrial DME production is the catalytic dehydration of MeOH. Kinetic model was derived based on Bercic rate. The parameters of this equation for a specific catalyst were tuned by solving a one-dimensional homogenous model using MATLAB optimization module. A two-dimensional CFD simulation of the reaction is demonstrated and considered as numerical experiments. A sensitivity analysis was run in order to find the effect of temperature, pressure, and WHSV on the reactor performance. Good agreement was achieved between bench experimental data and the model. The results show that the maximum conversion of reaction (about 85.03%) is obtained at WHSV=10 h-1 and T=563.15 K, whereas the inlet temperature has a greater effect on methanol conversion. Moreover, the effect of water in inlet feed on methanol conversion is quantitatively studied. It was concluded that the results obtained from CFD analysis give precise guidelines for further studies on the optimization of reactor performance.

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