Characterising the two-phase flow and mixing performance in a gas-mixed anaerobic digester: Importance for scaled-up applications

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Abstract

This study aimed to characterise the gas-liquid flow and mixing behaviour in a gas-mixed anaerobic digester by improving phase interaction modelling using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). A 2D axisymmetric model validated with experimental data was set up using an Eulerian-Eulerian method. Uncertainty factors, including bubble size, phase interaction forces and liquid rheology were found to significantly influence the flow field. A more reliable and complete validation was obtained by critical comparison and assessment of the referred experimental data, compared to the models reported in other studies. Additionally, justifiable corrections and predictions in detail were obtained. Mixing was evaluated by trajectory tracking of a large number of particles based on an Euler-Lagrange method. The mixing performance approximated to a laminar-flow reactor (LFR) that distinctly deviated from expected continuous stirred tank reactor (CSTR) design, indicating limited enhancement from the applied gas-sparging strategy in the studied digester. The study shows the importance of a proper phase-interaction description for a reliable hydrodynamic characterisation and mixing evaluation in gas-mixed digesters. Validations, bend to experimental data without a critical assessment, may lead to an inaccurate model for further scaled-up applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-97
JournalWater Research
Volume149
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Anaerobic digestion
  • CFD
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Mixing
  • Two-phase flow

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