In this study, the catalytic combustion of methane is numerically investigated using an unstructured, implicit, fully coupled finite volume approach. Nonlinear system of equations is solved by Newton’s method. The catalytic partial oxidation of methane over both platinum and rhodium catalysts are studied three-dimensionally. Eight gas-phase species (CH4, CO2, H2O, N2, O2, CO, OH and H2) are considered for the simulation. Surface chemistry is modeled by detailed reaction mechanisms including 24 heterogeneous reactions with 11 surface-adsorbed species for Pt catalyst and 38 heterogeneous reactions with 20 surface-adsorbed species for Rh catalyst. The numerical results are compared with the experimental data and good agreement is observed. The performance of the fuel reformer is analyzed for two different catalysts. The sensitivity analysis for the reactor is performed using three different approaches: finite difference, direct differentiation and adjoint method. The design cycle is performed using two gradient-based optimization algorithms to improve the value of the implemented cost function and optimize the reactor performance.

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