Steam-Gasification of Coal in a Fluidized-Bed/Packed-Bed Reactor Exposed to Concentrated Thermal Radiation - Modeling and Experimental Validation

   von Zedtwitz P., Steinfeld A.
  Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, Vol. 44, pp. 3852-3861, 2005.
  The steam-gasification of coal in a fluidized-bed or a packed-bed chemical reactor is considered using an external source of concentrated thermal radiation for high-temperature process heat. The energy equation that couples heat transfer with the chemical kinetics is solved by means of a numerical model that incorporates the Monte Carlo ray tracing technique for non-isothermal, non-gray, absorbing, emitting, and scattering media. The reaction kinetics are described by Langmuir-Hinshelwood type rate laws. Validation is accomplished by comparing the numerically computed temperature profiles, product gas composition, and reaction extent with the experimentally measured values using a tubular quartz reactor directly exposed to high-flux irradiation. For the packed bed, the temperature increases monotonically because the internal radiative exchange approaches a conduction-like heat transfer within the bed. For the fluidized bed, the temperature increases rapidly in the first 25% of the bed and reaches a constant value because of the strong fluidization in the upper bed region derived from the five-folded volumetric growth due to gas formation and thermal expansion. At above 1450 K, the product composition consisted mainly of an equimolar mixture of H2 and CO, a syngas quality that is notably superior than the one typically obtained in autothermal gasification reactors (with internal combustion of coal for process heat), besides the additional benefit of the upgraded calorific value.
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