Computational Simulation of Coal Gasification in Fluidized Bed Reactors

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Virginia Tech

The gasification of carbonaceous fuel materials offers significant potential for the production of both energy and chemical products. Advancement of gasification technologies may be expedited through the use of computational fluid dynamics, as virtual reactor design offers a low cost method for system prototyping. To that end, a series of numerical studies were conducted to identify a computational modeling strategy for the simulation of coal gasification in fluidized bed reactors.

The efforts set forth by this work first involved the development of a validatable hydrodynamic modeling strategy for the simulation of sand and coal fluidization. Those fluidization models were then applied to systems at elevated temperatures and polydisperse systems that featured a complex material injection geometry, for which no experimental data exists. A method for establishing similitude between 2-D and 3-D multiphase systems that feature non-symmetric material injection were then delineated and numerically tested.

Following the development of the hydrodynamic modeling strategy, simulations of coal gasification were conducted using three different chemistry models. Simulated results were compared to experimental outcomes in an effort to assess the validity of each gasification chemistry model. The chemistry model that exhibited the highest degree of agreement with the experimental findings was then further analyzed identify areas of potential improvement.

Coal Gasification, Computational fluid dynamics, Fluidized Bed, Multiphase Flow