Qingang Xiong, Jingchao Zhang, Fei Xu, Gavin Wiggins, C. Stuart Daw, Coupling DAEM and CFD for simulating biomass fast pyrolysis in fluidized beds, Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis, Available online 3 December 2015, ISSN 0165-2370, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaap.2015.11.015.
Abstract: We report results from computational simulations of an experimental, lab-scale bubbling bed biomass pyrolysis reactor that include a distributed activation energy model (DAEM) for the kinetics. In this study, we utilized multiphase computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to account for the turbulent hydrodynamics, and this was combined with the DAEM kinetics in a multi-component, multi-step reaction network. Our results indicate that it is possible to numerically integrate the coupled CFD–DAEM system without significantly increasing computational overhead. It is also clear, however, that reactor operating conditions, reaction kinetics, and multiphase flow dynamics all have major impacts on the pyrolysis products exiting the reactor. We find that, with the same pre-exponential factors and mean activation energies, inclusion of distributed activation energies in the kinetics can shift the predicted average value of the exit vapor-phase tar flux and its statistical distribution, compared to single-valued activation-energy kinetics. Perhaps the most interesting observed trend is that increasing the diversity of the DAEM activation energies appears to increase the mean tar yield, all else being equal. These findings imply that accurate resolution of the reaction activation energy distributions will be important for optimizing biomass pyrolysis processes.
Keywords: Biomass fast pyrolysis; Distributed activation energy model; Multi-fluid model; Gaussian distribution; Logistic distribution