Application of Concurrent Development Practices to Petrochemical Equipment Design

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Virginia Tech

Principles of concurrent development are applied to the design of a small-scale device for converting natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas into hydrogen. The small hydrogen generator is intended for serial production for application in the production of industrial hydrogen, fueling stationary fuel cell power systems and refueling hydrogen-fueled fuel cell electric vehicles. The concurrent development process is contrasted with the traditional, linear development process for petrochemical systems and equipment, and the design is benchmarked against existing small hydrogen generators as well as industrial hydrogen production apparatus. A novel system and hardware design are described, and a single cycle of concurrent development is applied in the areas of catalyst development, thermodynamic optimization, and reactor modeling and design. The impact of applying concurrent development techniques is assessed through economic modeling, and directions for future development work are identified.

hydrogen, steam reformer, concurrent engineering, fuel cell