A method and apparatus for producing heat used in a synthesis gas production process is provided. The disclosed method and apparatus include a plurality of tubular oxygen transport membrane elements adapted to separate oxygen from an oxygen containing stream contacting the retentate side of the membrane elements. The permeated oxygen is combusted with a hydrogen containing synthesis gas stream contacting the permeate side of the tubular oxygen transport membrane elements thereby generating a reaction product stream and radiant heat. The present method and apparatus also includes at least one catalytic reactor containing a catalyst to promote the steam reforming reaction wherein the catalytic reactor is surrounded by the plurality of tubular oxygen transport membrane elements. The view factor between the catalytic reactor and the plurality of tubular oxygen transport membrane elements radiating heat to the catalytic reactor is greater than or equal to 0.5.
This invention was made with Government support under Cooperative Agreement No. DE-FC26-07NT43088, awarded by the United States Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in this invention.