• methane decomposition;
  • carbon catalyst;
  • surface sites;
  • reaction kinetics;
  • numerical modeling

The number of active sites on the surface of carbon catalysts is an important factor in determining their activity in the decomposition of methane. Although several studies have been performed to identify the nature of these sites, no method has been established to estimate their number. A method is presented to estimate this value, and its effect on hydrogen production is evaluated, along with that of temperature and residence time. For this purpose, the thermocatalytic decomposition of methane is modeled with the inclusion of the number of active sites of the catalyst in the kinetics. The results of the model indicate the high influence of variations of small residence times in this process, and the reduction of this effect at high temperatures. Also, the effect of the number of surface sites is shown to be more prominent at low residence times and temperatures. © 2014 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 60: 2228–2234, 2014