Geometrical optimization of a fast pyrolysis bubbling fluidized bed reactor using comutational fluid dynamics

K. Papadikis, Sai Gu*, A. V. Bridgwater

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This paper analyzes the physical phenomena that take place inside an 1 kg/h bubbling fluidized bed reactor located at Aston University and presents a geometrically modified version of it, in order to improve certain hydrodynamic and gas flow characteristics. The bed uses, in its current operation, 40 L/min of N2 at 520 °C fed through a distributor plate and 15 L/min purge gas stream, i.e., N2 at 20 °C, via the feeding tube. The Eulerian model of FLUENT 6.3 is used for the simulation of the bed hydrodynamics, while the k - ε model accounts for the effect of the turbulence field of one phase on the other. The three-dimensional simulation of the current operation of the reactor showed that a stationary bubble was formed next to the feeding tube. The size of the permanent bubble reaches up to the splash zone of the reactor, without any fluidizaton taking place underneath the feeder. The gas flow dynamics in the freeboard of the reactor is also analyzed. A modified version of the reactor is presented, simulated, and analyzed, together with a discussion on the impact of the flow dynamics on the fast pyrolysis of biomass.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5634-5651
Number of pages18
JournalEnergy and Fuels
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes

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