Conventional and advanced exergoenvironmental analysis of a steam methane reforming reactor for hydrogen production
This paper investigates the environmental aspects of a steam methane reformer technology and highlights the potential for improving the reformer through a conventional and an advanced exergoenvironmental analysis. An exergoenvironmental analysis is a complex analysis based on a combination of an exergetic analysis and a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). This analysis is conducted at the component level and identifies options for reducing the overall environmental impact. To evaluate the thermodynamic performance and environmental effectiveness of the reformer and to estimate its realistic potential for improvement, it is necessary to know (a) the avoidable part of the exergy destruction (irreversibilities) within the component, and (b) the avoidable environmental impact associated with it. Improvement efforts should be then focused only on these avoidable parts. The avoidable environmental impacts associated with both exergy destruction and component-related environmental impact are calculated in the advanced exergoenvironmental analysis. As a result, some suggestions for improving the design of the reformer are made.