A microkinetic model capable of describing multiple processes related to the conversion of natural gas to syngas and hydrogen on Rh is derived. The parameters of microkinetic models are subject to (intrinsic) uncertainty arising from estimation. It is shown that intrinsic uncertainty could markedly affect even qualitative model predictions (e.g., the rate-determining step). In order to render kinetic models predictive, we propose a hierarchical, data-driven methodology, where microkinetic model analysis is combined with a comprehensive, kinetically relevant set of nearly isothermal experimental data. The new, thermodynamically consistent model is capable of predicting several processes, including methane steam and dry reforming, catalytic partial oxidation, H2 and CO rich combustion, water-gas shift and its reverse at different temperatures, space velocities, compositions and reactant dilutions, using the measured Rh dispersion as an input. Comparison with other microkinetic models is undertaken. Finally, an uncertainty analysis assesses the effect of intrinsic uncertainty and catalyst heterogeneity on the overall model predictions. © 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2009
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