AbstractIn this paper, a numerical model of the dimethyl ether (DME) steam reformer was developed. The established numerical model was solved using commercially available software. An experimental platform was set up to validate the simulation results, which were consistent with experimental data. The size and shape of the reactor was optimized by means of a structural optimization model to achieve a higher conversion of DME. The effect of reaction conditions on DME conversion and hydrogen production was analyzed. The topology optimization of the DME reactor was carried out to obtain the optimal distribution of porous catalysts in the reactor to obtain the maximum total reaction rate. A simulation of the reforming to hydrogen industrial system was established to obtain the thermal efficiency of the reforming reactor with different structures under different operating conditions. The structural optimization results showed that the DME steam-reforming system achieved 91% DME conversion and 89% hydrogen production at a conversion bed temperature of 673 K, mixed gas inlet flow rate of 0.5  m/s, and steam-ether ratio of 3.5. Topological optimization has obtained an optimal porous catalyst distribution with a nearly 1.3-fold increase in DME conversion and achieved the highest system thermal efficiency of up to 79%. The model can be used for the optimal design of DME steam-reforming reactors and provide a reference for the optimization method of DME steam reformers.

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