This work focuses on the numerical modelling and experimental validation of the hydrodynamic behaviour of a novel 50 kWth indirectly heated bubbling fluidized bed steam reformer. The hydrodynamic behaviour of fluidized beds with immersed vertical tubes and complex fluidized bed geometries in general have not been thoroughly investigated in terms of numerical modelling coupled with experimental validation for pilot scale reactors. Therefore, the present study contributes to the fluidized bed hydrodynamics numerical modelling field, while investigating a novel reactor concept. Simulations were performed employing the Two-Fluid Model approach, using the Kinetic Theory of Granular Flows (KTGF) and the adjusted Syamlal O'Brien drag model. The reactor's hydrodynamic behaviour was simulated successfully, as showcased by a comparison of global hydrodynamic metrics (bed height, pressure drop) between computational and experimental results. Simulations were performed with and without considering an additional nitrogen gas feed on the side of the reactor (feeding system pressurization). Overall, for both cases, for realistic values of the particle restitution coefficient channelling of the gas flow near the reactor walls was observed. Larger bubbles appeared to be forming near the outer wall of the reactor for the no side-flow simulations. The opposite behaviour was encountered for the side-flow simulations due to stream-like behaviour of the side-flow moving up against the reactor's outer wall. The choice to limit the simulations to a 72° symmetry domain was validated, indicating the possibility of further reduction. Finally, it was argued that increasing the reactor's diameter could potentially lead to a reduction of the observed channelling of the fluidization media and improve the mixing achieved in the reactor and thus the conversion efficiency of the IHBFBSR during gasification applications.
- Fluidized bed
- Non-standard geometry