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Modeling of Bubble Flow in Fluidized Bed Combustion Units Master of Science Thesis JOHANNA OLSSON

Modeling of Bubble Flow in Fluidized Bed Combustion Units

Master of Science Thesis

JOHANNA OLSSON

Department of Energy and Environment Division of Energy Technology CHALMERS UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY Göteborg, Sweden, 2008 Report No. T2008-316

Modeling of Bubble Flow in Fluidized Bed Combustion Units Johanna Olsson

© Johanna Olsson, 2008

Examensarbete vid Chalmers Tekniska Högskola

Department of Energy and Environment Division of Energy Technology Chalmers University of Technology SE-41296 Göteborg (Sweden) Telephone: +46 (0)31 7721000

Tryckställe

Göteborg, 2008

Modeling of Bubble Flow in Fluidized Bed Combustion Units

Johanna Olsson

Department of Energy and Environment Division of Energy technology

Chalmers University of Technology

Abstract

The performance of a fluidized bed combustion (FBC) unit depends on the fuel distribution in the boiler, which is a complex process. This work includes a survey of previous research and available models for solids mixing in fluidized beds. The available semi-empirical models used to describe the solids mixing and the modeling from first principle through computational fluid dynamics (CFD) both give an unsatisfactory description of the fuel distribution in large industrial FBC units. To bridge the gap between these two approaches, a model based on plausible physical mechanisms is needed.

Recognizing the importance of bubbles in a fluidized bed, the aim of this work is the development and implementation of a dynamic bubble flow model. In this work it is recognized that the fluidization regime, hence the bubble flow pattern, depends on the ratio of the pressure drop across the air distributor to that across the bed, not on the individual values. This ratio determines the relative parts of gas flow in the throughflow phase and the emulsion- only phase.

The first-step one-dimensional model implemented for the bubble flow in a fluidized bed under an exploding bubble regime is unique in that it accounts for the influence of the ratio on the local fluctuations in superficial gas velocity and pressure. It is shown that a high pressure drop ratio results in severe fluctuations in the system, while a lower ratio results in more moderate fluctuations, which is in agreement with experimental observations. Moderate fluctuations indicate that the superficial gas velocities in the respective phases do not differ much: the bubbles are smaller and the bed is probably not operated in the exploding bubble regime.

Due to the restriction of the model, it is not possible to perform realistic simulations of cases in which the pressure drop across the distributor dominates strongly over the pressure drop across the bed.

Keywords: Fluidized bed combustion units; Modeling; Mixing; Bubble flow pattern

Table of Contents

1. INTRODUCTION

1

Scope and aim

1

2. BACKGROUND

3

2.1

Fundamentals of fluidization

3

Minimum fluidization and terminal velocity

3

Pressure drop

4

Geldart‟s classification of particles

4

The combustion application

5

2.2

Bubbles in fluidized beds

6

The two phase theory of fluidized beds

6

Bubble shape, size and rise velocity

7

Davidson‟s bubble model

7

Coalescence

8

The dynamic behavior of the gas fluidized bed and fluidization regimes

8

2.3

Solids transport mechanisms

10

Wake transport and gulf streaming

10

Splash zone

11

2.4

Models of gas flow and solids mixing

11

The Counter-Current Back Mixing (CCBM) model

12

The Brownian dispersion model

12

CFD simulations

13

3.

THEORY

14

3.1 The bubble flow model

14

3.2 Computational flow scheme

19

4. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

21

4.1 Reference case

21

4.2 The influence of the characteristic constant of the air distributor and the bed height

23

5. CONCLUSIONS

28

6. FURTHER WORK

29

REFERENCES

30

1. Introduction

The use of fluidization technology was first developed for chemical reactors, but its many beneficial properties have also made it interesting for combustion applications. Although the process was developed in the 1940s and introduced in combustion systems in the 1960s, the processes taking place inside the bed are not yet fully understood or explicitly described. During the past few decades much research was conducted in this area, multiple experimental studies were made, and in recent years numerical simulations using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) were also conducted. The findings of these decades have been summarized in several articles, Lim et al. (1995) being one of them.

However, most of the research on solids mixing and fuel distribution does not have its experimental basis in conditions corresponding to large-scale fluidized boiler units, as discussed in Pallarès (2005). The boiler dimensions, fluidization gas velocity, bed height-to-

width ratio and the ratio of the pressure drops across the distributor to that of the bed are only

a few of the characteristics that set fluidized bed combustion units for solid fuel apart from

other applications. One of the main features determining the performance of a fluidized boiler

is the fuel distribution in the bed, which is among the more complex phenomena to describe.

In a fluidized bed boiler, fuel makes up only a small percent of the total bed material (Lim and Agarwal, 1994), which might suggest that if the motion of the bed material and its interaction with the fuel particles were known, fuel distribution could be determined. However, obtaining

a quantitative description of the fuel distribution, with satisfactory agreement with

experimental data, is more complex than indicated, since solids mixing is coupled to gas mixing, and vice versa, as schematized in Figure 1. Solids are present in three regions of a circulating fluidized bed (CFB) riser; the bottom bed, the splash zone and the transport zone, as shown by Johnsson and Leckner (1995). The movement of solids in all three regions of a CFB riser is the result of the interaction between particles and gas. This interaction exhibit a special behavior in the bottom bed, as bubbles and channeling of gas appear under the operational conditions common to boilers. These phenomena distort the flow fields throughout the riser, for both bubbling (BFB) and circulating beds (CFB).

Scope and aim

The ultimate goal of this work is to develop a model describing the fuel distribution (marked with squared background in Figure1) in a gas fluidized bed boiler as a function of operating conditions that are measurable and controllable. By recognizing the importance of bubbles in fluidized beds, the aim of this work is to develop, as the first step, a bubble flow model (marked with dotted background in Figure1). Semi-empirical models for solids mixing proposed in the literature should be used with care outside of the domain for which they were developed. A macroscopic model of the fuel mixing, based on plausible underlying physical mechanisms, describing both the gas and solids flow patterns in freely bubbling beds, would bridge the existing gap between empirically-fitted models and the under-developed CFD modeling.

This work begins with a survey of previous research and available models in the literature for the solids mixing; it then proceeds to present a first-step bubble flow model for large-scale fluidized bed combustion (FBC) units, both bubbling and circulating. Since the mechanisms governing the dynamics of a fluidized bed are not yet fully understood, the model will need,

at present, to rely on experimental data for the fitting of parameters. Care should be taken so that the model is subject to empirical fitting as little as possible.

Fuel distribution
Fuel distribution

Fuel properties

Gas - Solids flow pattern

Fuel distribution Fuel properties Gas - Solids flow pattern Splash zone Particle motion Gas velocity field
Fuel distribution Fuel properties Gas - Solids flow pattern Splash zone Particle motion Gas velocity field

Splash zone

Particle motion
Particle
motion
Gas velocity field
Gas
velocity
field
pattern Splash zone Particle motion Gas velocity field Transport zone (only in CFB) Gas velocity field

Transport zone (only in CFB)

Gas velocity field
Gas
velocity
field

Bottom bed

Particle Gas motion velocity field Bubble flow pattern
Particle
Gas
motion
velocity
field
Bubble flow
pattern
Particle motion
Particle
motion

Figure 1: Mapping of the physical mechanisms governing the fuel distribution

2. Background

“Fluidization is the operation by which solid particles are transformed into a fluidlike state through suspension in a gas or a liquid.” (Kunii and Levenspiel, 1991.)

2.1 Fundamentals of fluidization

The first large-scaled, commercially significant use of fluidized beds was for the gasification

of powdered coal, invented in 1922. The early use of fluidized beds for catalytic cracking

processes expanded to applications outside of the petroleum industry in the 1940s, at which point the use and development of the fluidization technology was limited by a lack of understanding of the processes actually taking place inside the bed. In hope of finding a combustion system suitable for low grade coal and oil fuels that could not be burnt in conventional furnaces, fluidized bed combustion (FBC) was developed in the early 1960s, but it was not commercialized until the early 1980s. At present, fluidization technology is widely used in a broad range of applications, e.g. chemical and catalytic reactors, combustion and gasification of solid fuel, and the drying of granular solids; it is now of interest to extend its operational ranges and areas of application.

Minimum fluidization and terminal velocity

A gas introduced at a low flow rate, as an upward flow from the bottom of a fixed bed,

percolates through the voids in the bed. At a high enough gas flow rate, the gas friction force developed counterbalances the gravity force of the particles. At this point, called the

minimum fluidization point, particles are suspended in the gas flow and the gas-solid suspension acquires properties similar to those of a fluid, i.e. the bed becomes fluidized. Minimum fluidization conditions are characterized by a certain gas velocity, u mf, and bed voidage (gas volume fraction), ε mf .

At gas velocities beyond the minimum fluidization velocity, also known as minimum bubbling velocity, u mb , is reached, at which gas bubbles and channeling of the gas flow

appear, as illustrated in Figure 2. At higher gas velocities, typical for bubbling fluidized beds (BFB), agitation becomes more violent. As the gas velocity is increased further and bubbles grow larger, the bed surface becomes strongly fluctuating and difficult to determine. Finally,

at gas velocities exceeding the terminal velocity of the solids, u t , bed material is carried out of

the riser by the gas. To ensure a roughly constant solids inventory in the riser, entrained particles have to be externally recirculated by means of a cyclone or replaced. Under conditions of significant external recirculation of solids, a circulating fluidized bed (CFB) is established, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: (a) Fixed bed: u < u m f ; (b) Bubbling fluidized bed:

Figure 2: (a) Fixed bed: u < u mf ; (b) Bubbling fluidized bed: u > u mb ; and (c) Circulating fluidized bed: u > u t

Pressure drop

In particulate media, the frictional pressure drop can be described by the Ergun equation:

P

150(1

)

2

L

3

d

p 2

u

1.75(1

)



3

d

p

u

2

.

(1)

The pressure drop is described by two terms representing the viscous and the inertial or kinetic energy losses. According to the Ergun equation a pressure drop depends not only on the superficial gas velocity but also on particle size and bed voidage. At minimum fluidization, the pressure drop across the bed equals the static pressure of the bed. Once the bed is fluidized, the time-averaged pressure drop is nearly independent of the gas flow rate. This constancy in the pressure drop, as explained by Kunii and Levenspiel (1991), occurs when the gas-solid phase is well-aerated and can deform easily without appreciable resistance, thus the viscous pressure drop is rather small.

Geldart’s classification of particles

The properties of the particles that make up the bed affect the fluidized bed behavior. Therefore, particles have been classified by Geldart (1973) into four groups, which are characterized by solids-gas density difference and mean particle size, as seen in Figure 3.

Figure 3 : Geldart‟s classification of particles under ambient conditions (taken from Kunii and Levenspiel,

Figure 3: Geldart‟s classification of particles under ambient conditions (taken from Kunii and Levenspiel, 1991)

Most of the particles in fluidized beds used for commercial scale combustion of solid fuels belong to group B which contains most of the material of medium-range size and density, i.e. sand. For beds consisting of group B particles, the minimum bubbling and minimum fluidization velocities coincide (Geldart, 1973). Most of the literature on the basic properties of fluidized beds is derived from tall and narrow beds with particles belonging to group A or small group B particles.

The combustion application

The original aim of developing fluidized bed combustion (FBC) was to obtain a technique which could efficiently convert low grade coal and oil. In addition, FBC shows high fuel flexibility, and biomass and waste are becoming the usual fuel in FBC units. Furthermore, efficient co-combustion of different fuel types is one of the main advantages FBC offers. Also, the ability to use bed additives to control environmentally hazardous emissions makes FBC performance relatively insensitive to the quality of the fuel.

The bed is fluidized by primary air supplied through the air distributor at the bottom of the riser. This primary air represents the main oxygen source for the combustion process. Fuel is usually fed into the boiler from a chute. As fuel particles enter the furnace they heat up; moisture and volatiles are released leaving solid char particles. Volatiles are consumed in the freeboard or the cyclone, while char particles remain mostly in the bed.

The bed material in a fluidized bed combustor acts as a thermal flywheel, providing stability to the system and making it less sensitive to changes in the fuel heating value. Violent bubbling and rapid mixing in a fluidized bed leads to a good gas-solids contact, as well as a rather homogeneous temperature field in the dense bed, which eases the control of the process (Kunii and Levenspiel, 1991). Only a few percent (typically from 0.1 to 5%) of the bed material of a fluidized bed for solid fuel combustion consists of fuel (Lim and Agarwal, 1994).

Since combustion rates of both char and volatiles increase with oxygen concentration, it is of the utmost importance that good gas-solids contact and gas mixing exist, i.e. that the bed is well mixed. Fuel mixing is therefore a key phenomenon in the performance of FBC units. In

the vertical direction, good fuel mixing is important to ensure sufficient contact time between fuel and oxygen. In the horizontal direction, a homogeneous fuel distribution is desirable for both the burnout of the fuel and the optimization of the excess air ratio, thus minimizing the operational cost. The extent to which the mixing of fuel is sufficient depends on the fuel conversion time and the characteristic mixing length, as discussed in Pallarès (2007).

Bubbles and gas channeling (i.e. gas flowing through the bed without interacting with the gas- solids emulsion) affect the FBC efficiency negatively. Fuel distribution in the bed depends mainly on the motion of the bed materials, but the gas flow also influences the distribution. As commented by Lim and Agarwal (1994), a good understanding of the dynamic behavior of the bed is therefore crucial for the optimization of the design of the air and fuel feed systems.

The aspect (height-to-width) ratio of the bottom bed in FBC units is often very low, i.e. the bed is shallow. The bed temperature is often kept close to 850ºC. Due to operational costs, the pressure drop over the distributor is often kept as small as possible; the distributor type most commonly used in commercial large-scale beds is the tuyere or bubble cap type. Boilers are usually operated at atmospheric or slightly below atmospheric pressure, and the fluidization gas velocity is often one or two orders of magnitude higher than the minimum fluidization velocity.

2.2 Bubbles in fluidized beds

Knowledge of the general behavior of a fluidized bed is insufficient for some purposes, e.g. reaction kinetics and heat transfer depend on details of the gas-solids interaction in the bed. Hence, a satisfactory treatment of these phenomena requires a reasonable model representing the gas flow through the bed and its interaction with bed material. As a consequence, the bubble size, rise velocity, shape, distribution, frequency and flow patterns are of key interest.

In the early stages of fluidization research, the analogy of fluidized bed bubbles with bubbles in liquids was used. Despite several similarities between these, a major difference is the fact that no mass transfer with the surrounding exists for bubbles in a liquid, whereas a bubble in a fluidized bed is a local high-voidage region exchanging gas with its surrounding, as explained by Davidson (1985). Nevertheless, the above-cited analogy combined with experiments on single bubbles has been used as basis for several concepts and models developed for bubbling beds.

The two phase theory of fluidized beds

Toomey and Johnstone (1952) postulated what is known as the simple two-phase theory of fluidization, which proposes that all gas flow in excess of that required for minimum fluidization flows through the bed as bubbles. Thus, the bed can be divided into two phases: a particulate phase (dense or emulsion phase) kept at minimum fluidization conditions and a solids-free phase (void phase or bubble).

Although this theory has been frequently used, there is substantial evidence that it overestimates the visible bubble flow. There has been considerable controversy over the reason for this discrepancy (see Davidson, 1985, and Kunii and Levenspiel, 1991); the lack of a throughflow term is the most widely accepted reason at present. Throughflow refers to gas flowing through the bubble at a rate higher than that of the bubble itself. As discussed in Gera and Gautam (1994), this flow is important in stabilizing the upper surface of bubbles, but is difficult to measure in three-dimensional beds. A semi-empirical model for the division of the

gas flow, which accounts for throughflow, often called the modified two-phase flow theory, was proposed by Johnsson et al. (1991).

Bubble shape, size and rise velocity

Observation of single bubbles injected into a bed kept at incipient fluidization provides fundamental qualitative information about the character of the bubble flow. Bubbles in beds of particles belonging to groups A and B in Geldart‟s classification are typically spherical cap-shaped, as shown in Figure 4. As described in Kunii and Levenspiel (1991), this is often ignored and bubbles are approximated through a sphere. The part of the sphere not included in the actual bubble is often called the wake. In beds with gas flow rates above that of minimum fluidization, bubbles are distorted in ways which are hard to predict.

bubbles are distorted in ways which are hard to predict. Figure 4: Bubble shape as observed

Figure 4: Bubble shape as observed in particles belonging to groups A and B in Geldart‟s classification (taken from Kunii & Levenspiel, 1991)

Bubble size is non-uniform throughout the bed and bubbles grow as they raise through the bed, which makes the determination of the bubble size difficult. Various empirical and semi- empirical correlations have been proposed to determine the mean bubble size for bubbles in freely bubbling beds. However, as discussed by Davidson (1985), these correlations are based on particular data from relatively small beds, which means they do not include all parameters affecting the variables to model.

Based on experimental bubble observation in fluidized beds, the following correlation was presented by Clift and Grace (1985) for the bubble rise velocity and is often used for bubbles in any kind of fluidized bed:

u

br

0.711

gD

e

1 2
1
2

0.79

gV 1 6 b
gV
1
6
b

.

(2)

In practice, interactions between adjacent bubbles influence bubble properties such as shape, size and rise velocity. Grace and Harrison (1969) showed that bubbles in a swarm rise more rapidly than a single bubble, due to interaction with neighboring bubbles.

Davidson’s bubble model

The Davidson model, presented in Davidson (1985), is based on experimental results derived from observation of single bubbles injected in beds kept at incipient fluidization. The

equations constituting the model are based on the assumptions that bubbles in a fluidized bed follow the same behavior as in an incompressible liquid of low viscosity and that the gas flow is described by the potential flow theory. The model accounts for the movement of both the gas and solids as well as the pressure distribution around rising bubbles.

Davidson‟s bubble model makes a distinction between two types of bubbles.

Slow or cloudless bubbles (u br < u f ): The emulsion gas rises faster than the bubble, thus taking a shortcut through the bubble on its way through the bed.

Fast or clouded bubbles (u br > u f ): The bubble rises faster than the emulsion gas and the gas leaving the top of the bubble is consequently swept around and returns into the bubble without mixing with the main stream of fluidizing gas.

However, the assumption made in the Davidson model of potential flow for the gas phase is only valid for conditions under which the viscous terms govern the pressure field in front of the inertial terms, i.e. at low gas velocities. At the higher gas velocities typical for operating fluidized bed units of most types, the model description of the pressure drop is not accurate. Despite this, the simple approach and correctness of Davidson model under certain conditions have made it the starting point of many other models for bubbling beds, as discussed in Kunii and Levenspiel (1991).

Coalescence

As bubbles rise through the bed, they grow partly by means of coalescence (the process by which two bubbles merges into a larger one). Coalescence occurs typically when a trailing bubble catches up with a leading bubble. As explained in Davidson (1985), the trailing bubble accelerates as it reaches the wake of the leading bubble and is drawn into the leading bubble. As discussed in Kunii and Levenspiel (1991), bubbles in a freely bubbling bed are considered to be small at the distributor, coalesce rapidly close to the bottom of the bed and grow more slowly as they rise through the bed.

The general prediction of bubble size as a function of height is one of the ultimate aims of any investigation of bubble coalescence in a fluidized bed. The various analytical models used to describe the motion of interacting bubbles are based on the treatment of single bubbles in liquid, derived by Davies and Taylor (1950). This problem is complex to treat theoretically and analytically: no adequate general description of the coalescence process has been developed so far.

The dynamic behavior of the gas fluidized bed and fluidization regimes

Although the bubble flow pattern is strongly dynamic, most research has been devoted to the gross behavior of the fluidizing bed, i.e. the time averaged behavior. Bubbles give rise to local differences in gas flow rate, which result in pressure fluctuations, as discussed in Davidson (1985). Hence, the distribution of gas bubbles in space, time and size is of interest in any application. The spatial distribution of bubbles formed at the gas distributor is controlled to a large extent by the distributor. The gas flow through each nozzle or orifice in the gas distributor depends both on the local pressure difference between the plenum and the bed bottom and on the flow resistance of the distributor.

The fluidization regimes of a freely bubbling bed have been mapped by Svensson et al. (1996) in terms of bubble behavior and pressure fluctuations. When operated at velocities typical for fluidized beds, both bubbling and circulating, the fluidization regimes known as the single and exploding bubble regime (shown in Figures 5a and 5c) can be observed in the

bottom bed. The single bubble regime occurs for low gas velocities; for higher gas velocities the bed enters the exploding bubble regime. These regimes are characterized by a few large bubbles which cause severe pressure fluctuations and are typical for beds with low-pressure drop gas distributors. As shown in Figure 5b, the multiple-bubble regime presents numerous smaller bubbles, which results in smoother fluidization and damped fluctuations.

results in smoother fluidization and damped fluctuations. Figure 5a: Single bubble regime (taken from Sasic et

Figure 5a: Single bubble regime (taken from Sasic et al. (2005) and Pallarès et al. (2006))

from Sasic et al. (2005) and Pallarès et al. (2006)) Figure 5b: Multiple bubble regime (taken

Figure 5b: Multiple bubble regime (taken from Sasic et al. (2005) and Pallarès et al. (2006))

from Sasic et al. (2005) and Pallarès et al. (2006)) Figure 5c: Exploding bubble regime (taken

Figure 5c: Exploding bubble regime (taken from Sasic et al. (2005) and Pallarès et al. (2006))

2.3 Solids transport mechanisms

Experiments have shown that solids mixing is severely limited at minimum fluidization but increases notably at slightly higher gas flow rates. Bubbles induce the solids mixing by stirring the bed material as they are rising through the dense phase. As discussed by Niklasson et al. (2002) among others, it is now commonly accepted that solids mixing in the bottom region of a gas fluidized bed is mainly determined by the bubble flow pattern. For large units with shallow beds, such as fluidized bed combustors, the lateral solids mixing has a major influence on the performance of the boiler, as explained in Pallarès et al. (2007). The main transport mechanisms identified for the bottom region of fluidized beds, as illustrated in Figure6, are listed below.

fluidized beds, as illustrated in Figure6, are listed below. Figure 6: A representative diagram of solids

Figure 6: A representative diagram of solids transport taking place in the bottom bed and splash zone (taken from Pallarès, 2005)

Wake transport and gulf streaming

Gas drawn into the wake of the bubble drags solids with it, as schematized in Figure 4. The solids are lifted with the bubble rise and dispersed along the path of the bubble. As discussed in Shi and Fan (1984), this is the primary physical mechanism by which solids are mixed axially in a bubbling bed, with little influence on the horizontal transport of solids. Numerous experiments have been dedicated to determine the influence of the wake transport and its contribution to the solids mixing.

It has been observed in large industrial fluidized-bed units that bubbles tend to follow a stable spatial distribution with preferred bubble paths, as discussed in Werther (1977), determined by the wall effects in combination with bed and air distributor properties. This bubble flow pattern leads to a characteristic circulation pattern of solids in which they flow upwards in regions where bubbles are frequent and downwards in regions where bubbles are less frequent. The combined effects of gross circulation and small scale local mixing leads to a notable axial mixing. The rate of lateral mixing is much less pronounced, particularly in shallow beds where the lateral influence of rising bubbles is weak, as described in Lim et al.

(1995).

Splash zone

As bubbles reach the bed surface and erupt, solids from the bubble wake and roof are ejected into the freeboard. As explained in Niklasson et al. (2002), these ejected solids either can be entrained by the gas stream and leave the riser or fall back to the bed surface and rejoin the emulsion. The lateral solids mixing is strongly dependent upon this bubble-induced scattering of solids at the top of the bed surface. Indeed, the presence of vertically aligned baffle plates has been shown to significantly decrease the lateral solids mixing, as discussed in Shi and Fan

(1984).

2.4 Models of gas flow and solids mixing

As discussed in Verloop (1968) and later summarized in Lim et al. (1993), various models have been proposed in the literature to describe the solids mixing in fluidized beds. The earliest models are of limited use, since they describe the solids mixing by combining different flow systems (such as perfectly mixed, plug flow, short circuiting), thus neglecting the physical behavior of the bed. Later, more refined models for solids mixing (and occasionally also gas flow) are briefly introduced and commented on below.

The K-L bed model or “The bubbling bed model” The K-L bed model developed by Kunii and Levenspiel (1991), whose principle is illustrated in Figure 7, is based on the Davidson bubble model; it gives the gas flow and pressure profile around the bubble and differentiates between slow cloudless bubbles and fast clouded bubbles. The model also takes into account the contribution of the wakes to the flow pattern of both gas and solids.

of the wakes to the flow pattern of both gas and solids. Figure 7: The bubbling

Figure 7: The bubbling bed model (taken from Kunii and Levenspiel, 1991)

All rising bubbles are assumed to drag behind them a wake with solids which are continuously exchanged with solids from the emulsion. At the top of the bed, wake particles rejoin the downflowing emulsion, where the relative gas-solid velocity is assumed to be that of minimum fluidization. The bubble rise velocity is determined by Eq. 2 given in Section 2.2. The emulsion phase is assumed to remain at minimum fluidization.

While the K-L model does account for the importance of the bubble size under the flow conditions for both gas and solids in the bed, it is based on the Davidson model; it is therefore unsuitable for systems operated under conditions far from incipient fluidization.

The Counter-Current Back Mixing (CCBM) model

The counter-current back mixing (CCBM) model proposed by van Deemter (1961) and later refined by Gwyn et al. (1970) is based on considering the varying flow characteristics for different bed regions. Van Deemter suggested that the bed could be divided into two phases: a dense phase consisting of particulate aggregates and a dispersed phase with high vertical gas velocity. The mass exchange between the two phases is enabled through the break-up and formation of particulate aggregates, and the exchange between the regions is described by an empirically-determined exchange coefficient. To account for the horizontal movement of solids, CCBM models are often combined with a dispersion or diffusive model. Abanades et al. (2001) included the lateral displacement of solids in a CCBM model structure by connecting multiple vertical „mixing columns‟.

Since the two-phase division in the CCBM model, there have been models dividing the flow into more phases, but the development and utilization of the multi-phase CCBM model has been crippled by the increased need for empirical coefficients which are difficult to measure, as discussed in Lim et al. (1995). Among the available models at present, CCBM models are generally believed to give the best description of solids mixing in bubbling beds, despite the fact that other possible mixing mechanisms, such as solids splashing at the bed surface and turbulent mixing near the distributor, are not accounted for.

The division of the bed into layers with different flow characteristics is represented by counter-current back mixing models. The use of CCBM models is inhibited by the lack of experimental data needed to determine some parameters in the model setup. None of these models gives a description of the fuel mixing in satisfactory agreement with experimental data under conditions generally applicable to fluidized bed combustors.

The Brownian dispersion model

As discussed in Kunii and Levenspiel (1991) solid mixing in a fluidized bed occurs as the sum of two flow mechanisms: a convective and a random (diffusive) one. However, the convective contribution from the circulatory motion is usually combined with the diffusion, and both are represented by a dispersion coefficient. Horizontal solids mixing on a macroscopic scale is often simplified by describing the process in terms of Brownian diffusion transport:

C

s

t

D

si

2

C

S

(3)

where C is the solids concentration, and D si is the dispersion coefficient which depends on operational parameters and unit geometry and varies with location, both horizontally and vertically. All transport processes are embedded in the dispersion coefficient which is generally averaged over the cross-sectional area and, therefore, denoted as the effective dispersion coefficient.

Several techniques have been used to determine the rate of solids transport in a fluidized bed. The results of these investigations are often reported in the form of a dispersion coefficient. As shown by Niklasson et al. (2002), the high scattering in reported values for the dispersion

coefficient is an indication that the affect of the different physical mechanisms underlying the lateral dispersion vary from study to study. As a consequence, the correlations derived for the dispersion coefficient found in the literature obviously show a large scatter. This observation should invoke caution when applying expressions for the dispersion coefficient derived from a unit operating under conditions other than those modeled.

The original development of the dispersion model, using experimental data from tall, narrow beds with Geldart‟s group A and small group B particles, focused on the axial mixing. However, as explained in Abanades et al. (2001), the dispersion model can not describe the vertical movement of solids in large-scale fluidized bed units (i.e. combustors) with satisfactory agreement.

Characterization of the solids mixing as a diffusive process or by a mixing coefficient is an easy-to-implement method, but its use is questionable since the local dynamics of the bed are neglected.

CFD simulations

The use of numerical simulations from first principles, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), is thought to be the future tool for modeling fluidized units, but so far mostly systems of limited particle numbers and uniform particle size and density have been evaluated due to limited computational power.

3. Theory

The performance of a combustion unit is strongly dependent on the fuel distribution in the bed, which is why accurate predictions of this through modeling is a key aim in the understanding and optimization of the combustion process.

The desired model should, for easy implementation, describe the fuel distribution on the basis of variables that can be measured and/or controlled during operation:

the properties of the bed material (density and size distribution),

the bed dimensions,

the characteristic P-u curve of the air distributor, and

the operating conditions (fluidization velocity, temperature, etc).

3.1 The bubble flow model

The gas-solid flow in the bottom bed is governed by the presence of bubbles, which gives the flow picture a dynamic character and strongly affect the pressure profile. Thus, modeling has to be carried out on a dynamic basis for an accurate description of the bottom bed. The events to be modeled are: bubble formation, growth, detachment and uprise through the bottom bed.

Once the bed dimensions and bed material properties are established the complete bubble flow model should properly predict:

bubble characteristics (position, size, spatial distribution, frequency, density, rise velocity and direction),

dynamical pressure field, and

superficial gas velocity field.

As discussed in Section 2.1, the single and exploding bubble regimes are the most common in fluidized bed boilers. In the exploding bubble regime the bubble can remain attached to the distributor until it breaks the bed surface, while in the single bubble regime the bubble often detaches from the distributor and travels through the bed. Since stable preferred bubble paths can be readily established under these regimes, a single preferred bubble path and its adjacent emulsion is considered to be a representative section of the bed in this work.

At present, the bubble is assumed for simplicity to be rectangular and to grow only in the vertical direction. As schematized in Fig. 8, the region including the bubble is termed the throughflow phase and the adjacent emulsion is termed the emulsion-only phase.

Figure 8: A schematic representation of the modeled bed segment The bubble flow model presented

Figure 8: A schematic representation of the modeled bed segment

The bubble flow model presented in this work is based on the following assumptions:

i. Solid particles are spherical and monosized;

ii. The air distributor is of porous type;

iii. The gas has no vertical velocity gradients and flows strictly vertically, i.e. there is no exchange of mass between the throughflow and the emulsion-only phase;

iv. The emulsion voidage is a local function of the gas velocity;

v. The pressure drop in the emulsion follows the Ergun equation;

vi. The bed is operated in the exploding bubble regime, thus the bubble never detaches from the air distributor plate;

vii. Bubbles are solids-free voids without properties of their own; and

viii. The bed height is assumed constant and equal to the height at minimum fluidization, i.e. the increase in volume due to the expansion of the bubble is assumed to be compensated for by the part of the bed excluded from the section of interest.

Gas flowing through the bubble stabilizes the bubble roof, and is the means by which the bubble rises through the bed. Gas leaving through the bubble roof exerts a drag force on the particles contained between the bubble roof and the bottom bed surface. A high enough gas velocity causes these particles to move, allowing the bubble to ascend through the bed. Thus, particles are mere passengers dragged along by the gas flow. Since the system is strongly dynamic, a system of equations has to be solved at each time step to determine the evolution of the bubble front position and the gas velocity through the two phases involved.

The gas flow through the two phases making up a bed segment is controlled by the pressure drop across each phase. The impact of a bubble on the balance between the two phases can be compared with the electrical circuit, schematized in Fig. 9 with the emulsion-only and the throughflow phases set in parallel.

P atm

Throughflow Emulsion-only phase phase R Bed R Bed Eq. 10 Eq. 10 R Dist R
Throughflow
Emulsion-only
phase
phase
R Bed
R Bed
Eq. 10
Eq. 10
R Dist
R Dist
Eq. 9
Eq. 9
u e
u th

P ple

Figure 9: A representation of the flow resistances in a freely bubbling fluidized bed as a power circuit.

In the electrical analogy, gas velocity is likened to current intensity, pressure to voltage, and mass flow resistance to electric resistance. Hence,

I

V

R

E

U

gas

P

R

M

.

(4)

As seen from Figure 9, two pressure loss terms exist for each of the phases: one through the air distributor, R Dist , and one through the bed material, R Bed . Thus, flows through each one of the two phases considered are arranged so that a same total pressure loss is obtained for both.

If the pressure drop across the bed is much larger than that across the distributor, that is R Dist can be more or less disregarded, the presence of a bubble significantly alters the pressure balance between the two phases, notably increasing the flow in the throughflow phase. Conversly, if the pressure drop across the distributor is larger than the drop across the bed, the presence of a bubble does not alter the pressure balance much, and the division of the gas between both phases remains relatively unaffected.

When the pressure drop across the bed is dominant, bubbles grow larger since most of the gas seeks out the low resistance path which bubbles represent. When the pressure drop across the distributor dominates, smaller and more homogeneously distributed bubbles are formed in the bed, which does not induce any stable preferred bubble paths:

P

bed

P

dist

P

bed

P

dist

 1   1

Large bubbles forming stable preferred bubble paths

Small, homogeneously-distributed bubbles

A widely used correlation, given by Wen et al. (1966), to determine the particle Reynolds number at which minimum fluidization occurs is:

Re

p mf

,

where

C 2  C Ar  C 1 2 1   d 3 
C
2 
C Ar
C
1
2
1
d
3
  
g
Ar 
p
g
s
g
2
g
 

(5)

.

(6)

Several pairs of the values for C 1 and C 2 have been proposed in the literature. Grace (1986) suggested the use of C 1 = 27.2 and C 2 = 0.0408. The minimum fluidization velocity, u mf , can be obtained from the Reynolds number expression:

u mf

Re

p mf

,

g

d

p

g

.

(7)

The void fraction under minimum fluidization conditions, ε mf , is calculated with the Ergun equation:

Ar

150

1

mf

2

mf

Re

p mf

,

1.75 1

mf

3

mf

Re

2

p mf

,

.

(8)

The pressure drop through the distributor plate is generally determined by the characteristic curve of the distributor:

2

i

P ku

Dist

.

(9)

Since the bubble is assumed to be solids free, the gas passes through the bubble without any pressure drop. The pressure drop across the emulsion is described by the Ergun equation:

P

Bed

where

L

150

1

2

 

3

d

2

p

u

i

1.75 1



3

d

p

u

2

i

L L   h h

B0 B 0

x

for the emulsion-only phase and for the throughflow phase.

(10)

Unrealistically high pressure drops are obtained at high gas velocities with Eq. 10 if particles are assumed to be homogeneously distributed. Thus, particles in the emulsion are thought to have irregular mesoscale structures, i.e. to form clusters, which results in effective larger particles (see Section 3.3). The clusters are assumed to be spherical and are characterized by a particle diameter with the same density as a single particle. The excess pressure in the plenum can then be described by combining Eq. 9 and Eq. 10:

P

ple

(i) P

dist

P

Bed

.

(11)

The pressure inside the bubble exerts a force on the emulsion above the bubble, as shown in Fig.10. Thus, at a given time step, the displacement of the bubble front can be determined by

Newton‟s second law. Since the gas leaving through the bubble roof flows through the emulsion above the bubble, the excess pressure in the bubble, P bub , can be described by the Ergun equation (Eq. 10 with L = hb0-x), as show in Eq. iii in the derivation immediately below.

F atm

 
F g

F

g

F

Bub

F g

F

atm

F Bub

mg

P

atm

P

Bub

 

(i)

A

(ii)

A

P

atm

 P

Erg

A

 

(iii)

A

ma

(12)

Thus, Newton‟s second law gives:

 

F

F

g

F

atm

F

ple

 

mg

P

Erg

Figure 10: Force balance on the emulsion above the bubble in the throughflow phase

A further derivation of Eq. 12 yields:

150

1

2

 

3

d

2

p

u

i

1.75 1



3

d

p

u

2

i

s

1

a g

.

(13)

The local emulsion voidage has been studied with optical probes in a cold fluidized bed, as detailed in Appendix A. Withthe experimental data obtained in this study, a correlation describing the local voidage in the emulsion as a function of the gas velocity can be derived:

0.2104

u

i

0.37325

.

(14)

The pressure in the plenum is controlled by an air fan regulating system which is modeled according to:

P

ple

ii

P

ple

1 tu

wanted

u i 1

m

.

(15)

The rate of change in pressure is governed by the fan variable, α, and is determined so that the time-averaged gas velocity corresponds to the value defined as input (see Section 3.3 for details). Although the rate of change should be restricted by the mechanical capacity of the air systems to react to changes, this is not accounted for in the model at present time. The phase- averaged velocity, u m , used in Eq. 15, u m , is defined as:

u

m

(i) u (i)

B

B

u (i) 1

E

B

(16)

where ξ B is the fraction of cross-sectional area covered by the bubble.

The horizontal size of the bubble is fitted to predict the average bubble density as calculated from published experimental data on Chalmers CFB boiler, which is roughly around δ = 0.27,

as measured by Johnsson and Leckner (1995).

3.2 Computational flow scheme

The model requires the set of input data specified in Table 1 and derives the output data specified in Table 2:

Table 1: Input data required by the model

Solids density

ρ

s

Particle diameter

d

p

Operating temperature

T

Bed height

h

B0

Average operating superficial gas velocity

u

wanted

Characteristic constant of air distributor

k

Average bubble density

δ

B

The calculation of the bubble rise transient is time-discretized and implemented through an iteration-based computational structure, which is given in Fig.11a. The dynamic loop containing the system of equations solved at each time step is depicted by Fig.11b. As seen in Fig.11a, three self-contained iterations are needed to reach a solution.

Input

(table 1)

u Dynamic loop  wanted (fig.11b) U gas U gas  P d  d
u
Dynamic loop

wanted
(fig.11b)
U
gas
U gas
P
d
d
bed
cluster
cluster
P
mf
Pbed
 
B
B
B 
B
B

Output

(table 2)

Figure 11a: Computational flow scheme

ti ti 1t xi xi 1 Eq. 11 and Eq. 15 u i Eq. 13
ti ti 1t
xi xi 1
Eq. 11
and
Eq. 15
u i
Eq. 13
a
x(i)=X
X
i = i + 1

Figure 11b: Dynamic loop

Table 2: Output data from the model

Bubble front position

x(t)

 

Bubble cross-sectional fraction

ξ

B

q (see Chapter 4)

P

Bed

P

Dist

Superficial gas velocity in the through-flow phase

U

Th (t)

 

Superficial gas velocity in the emulsion-only phase

U

E (t)

 

Pressure in the plenum

P

ple (t)

 

Pressure drop across the bed

ΔP ThBed (t), ΔP EBed (t)

Pressure drop across the distributor plate

ΔP ThDist (t), ΔP EDist (t)

Since minimum fluidization conditions have to be fulfilled before the bubbling begins, these are chosen as initial bed conditions. Initial values and the time step used in the present calculations are given in Table 3. The computer code used (implemented in Matlab 7.3.0) is available in Appendix B.

Table 3: Initial parameter values and time step used in the present calculations

Regulating system constant

α

0

3.5e6 Pa/m

Bubble fraction

ξ

B0

0.8

Time step

∆t

0.1e-3 s

4. Results and discussion

The present model describes the behavior of a growing bubble in the bottom bed of a fluidized bed combustion unit, for which all results from the model are given as a function of time. Once the bubble has reached the bed surface, the bubble structure is assumed to collapse (as seen from experiments) and the gas velocity in the bed drop drastically, defluidizing the entire segment, which represents the end of the dynamic cycle. At present, the cycle is incomplete since the period between short-circuit, when the bubble breaks the bed surface, and the refluidization of the bed segment is not included in the model. Two parameters influencing the dynamics in an FBC unit are the bed height, h B0 , and the characteristic constant of the air distributor, k. A reference case is chosen as the basis for a later comparison in which the influence of these two parameters is investigated.

4.1 Reference case

Care should be taken when determining the input data, i.e. the operating conditions, to avoid exceeding the parameter range in which the model is valid. The conditions for the reference case, given in Table 4, are therefore chosen to represent typical operational conditions for a circulating FBC unit.

Table 4: Input data for the reference case

Solids density

ρ

s

2600 kg/m 3

Particle diameter

d

p

0.4

mm

Temperature

T

20ºC

Average gas velocity

u wanted

3 m/s

Average bubble density

δ B

0.27

Bed height

h

B0

0.5

m

Characteristic constant of air distributor

k

300 Pa∙s 2 /m 2

The bubble front propagates through the bed until it reaches the bed surface, as shown in Figure 12. The rise velocity is low during the initial formation of the bubble, but increases as the bubble grows larger. As the bubble front approaches the bed surface the rise velocity levels out and becomes more constant. While analyzing these results, it must be kept in mind that only the bubble front is taken into account in this model, and that both the rise velocity and bubble position might be significantly altered if the bubble detaches from the air distributor.

Figure 12: Modeled evolution of the bubble front, h B 0 = 0.5m, k =

Figure 12: Modeled evolution of the bubble front, h B0 = 0.5m, k = 300 Pa∙s 2 /m 2

The superficial gas velocity for each phase as well as the weighted average gas velocity is shown in Figure 13. It is clear that the velocity in the throughflow phase is higher than in the emulsion-only phase. This is a consequence of the introduction of a region without flow resistance, i.e. a bubble. The high velocity indicates that a substantial amount of the gas flow passes through the throughflow phase. As the bubble grows, the flow resistance in the bed section of the passage is decreased accordingly, and an increasing amount of the gas flow passes through the throughflow phase. Due to the corresponding decrease in gas flow through the emulsion-only phase, the gas velocity in the emulsion-only phase decreases as the bubble propagates through the bed. The velocity even drops below the minimum fluidization velocity, u mf , as the bubble approaches the bed surface. Therefore, in the case studied, the emulsion-only phase defluidizes before the bubble breaks the bed surface.

phase defluidizes before the bubble breaks the bed surface. Figure 13: Modeled superficial gas velocities in

Figure 13: Modeled superficial gas velocities in the throughflow (U TH ) and emulsion only phase (U E ) and the weighted average gas velocity (U M ).

Since it is not possible to reach as high fluidizing gas velocities as desired in a FBC unit without forming bubbles the pressure in the plenum has to overcome the weight of the incipiently fluidized bed and the flow resistance of the distributor plate. Once the pressure required to sustain the desired gas velocity is obtained, the pressure in the plenum drops off, as shown in Figure 14. This explains why the gas velocity appears independent of the bubble fronts position: A lower flow resistance in the bed section allows for a high gas flow to be sustained with a lower pressure in the plenum.

flow to be sustained with a lower pressure in the plenum. Figure 14: Modeled pressure in

Figure 14: Modeled pressure in the plenum, pressure drop across the bed (as expressed by Eq. 17) and time- averaged pressure drop across the bed.

The pressure drop across the bed is the weighted sum of the pressure drop in both phases expressed as:

P P k u  u

Bed

Ple

B

1

B

B 2

E 2

.

(17)

It can also be seen in the figure that the pressure in the plenum is actually higher than the minimum requirement for forming a bubble. The rapid increase of pressure in the plenum is a result of the present formulation of the fan regulating equation, Eq. 15.

The frequency of the pressure and gas velocity fluctuations is determined by the time it takes for the bubble to break through the surface of the bed and short-circuit the system, while the amplitude of the pressure fluctuation is the difference between the maximum value (occurring at bubble formation) and the lowest value (occurring as the bubble approaches the surface).

4.2 The influence of the characteristic constant of the air distributor and the bed height

The ratio of the pressure drop across the bed to that across the distributor determines the division of gas flow between the emulsion-only phase and the throughflow phase (see Figure 8). In this work the variable, q, is defined as the ratio of the time-averaged weighted sums of the pressure drops across the bed to those across the distributor:

q

P

Bed

P

Dist

.

(18)

This ratio, as given by Eq. 18, can be modified by changing the bed height, the characteristic constant of the air distributor, or both. To investigate the impact of the bed height and the characteristic constants of the air distributor represented by q, the simulation matrix shown in Figure 15 was applied.

Reference case k = 300 Pas 2 /m 2

h B0 = 0.5 m

Constant k (4) h B0 = 0.25 m

(7) h B0 = 1.0 m

m Constant k (4) h B 0 = 0.25 m (7) h B 0 = 1.0
m Constant k (4) h B 0 = 0.25 m (7) h B 0 = 1.0
m Constant k (4) h B 0 = 0.25 m (7) h B 0 = 1.0

Changing both h and k (5) h B0 = 0.25 m, k = 100 Pas 2 /m 2 (6) h B0 = 0.25 m, k = 500 Pas 2 /m 2 (8) h B0 = 1.0 m, k = 100 Pas 2 /m 2 (9) h B0 = 1.0 m, k = 500 Pas 2 /m 2

Constant h B0 (2) k = 100 Pas 2 /m 2 (3) k = 500 Pas 2 /m 2

Figure 15: Simulation matrix; case numbers given in parenthesis.

The fact that, at present stage, the model does not include the detachment of the bubble from the air distributor imposes the assumption that the bed is operated in the exploding bubble regime, which is the regime for which this assumption is most realistic. This regime is observed in systems where q >>1, which implies that the span of the simulation matrix is limited by the inability of the model to handle cases for which the pressure drop across the distributor dominates over the pressure drop across the bed, that is q << 1.

In the exploding bubble regime, the pressure drop across the distributor has to be low enough to allow the flow through the distributor to be non-uniform. Thus, the higher the variable q, the better the model applies to the simulated conditions. With q < 1, the flow through the distributor becomes more uniform and a significant rearrangement of the gas flow has to occur in the bed, which the model at present cannot handle, as discussed above. Both conditions and results for the cases presented in the simulation matrix are given in Table 5.

Table 5: Conditions and results for the nine cases considered

   

Parameters

 

Results

 
 

h

B0

k

ξ

B

q

α∙10 -6

d

cluster

Fluctuation

Case

[m]

[kg/m 3 ]

[-]

[-]

[Pa/m]

[mm]

frequency

[Hz]

Ref

0.5

300

0.8234

2.40

4.1

 

2.4

3.21

 

2 0.5

100

0.8195

7.02

3.5

 

2.3

3.38

 

3 0.5

500

0.8265

1.46

4.9

 

2.5

3.01

 

4 0.25

300

0.8245

1.22

3.6

 

2.5

4.12

 

5 0.25

100

0.8189

3.57

3.5

 

2.4

4.67

 

6 0.25

500

0.8197

0.74

4.7

 

2.8

3.48

 

7 1.0

300

0.8210

4.70

4.7

 

2.4

2.35

 

8 1.0

100

0.8203

13.99

4.1

 

2.3

2.42

 

9 1.0

500

0.8228

2.87

5.4

 

2.4

2.30

The influence of the bed height on the dynamics of the bubble front position, i.e. the bubble front velocity, is shown in Figure 16. When the bed height is decreased (compare the reference case to Case 4), the bubble front propagates more slowly through the bed, i.e. longer cycle times lower the fluctuation frequency. The same results can be reached by increasing the characteristic constant for the distributor plate (compare Case 4 to Case 6). On the other hand, a decrease in the characteristic constant for the distributor as well as a decreased bed height would then increase the bubble front velocity (compare the reference case to Case 5).

front velocity (compare the reference case to Case 5). Figure 16: Modeled evolution of bubble front

Figure 16: Modeled evolution of bubble front position for the reference case (q = 2.4), Case 4 (q = 1.22), Case 5 (q = 3.57) and Case 6 (q = 0.74).

The effect off a further increase in bed height or decrease of the characteristic constant for air distributor will where off when q increase far beyond unity. As the relative change in rise velocity becomes less noticeable, further decreasing the characteristic constant or increasing the bed height only adds to the operational costs in terms of fan power without further modifying the gas flow pattern.

These results demonstrate that individual values of the bed height and the characteristic constant for the air distributor are not important in themselves, but their ratio is. Henceforth, only the pressure drop ratio, q, will be taken into account, rather than the individual values for the two parameters investigated. Two systems are therefore expected to exhibit similar dynamic properties, as long as they have similar values of q, as can be seen in Figure 17.

Figure 17: Modeled evolution of the bubble front position for the reference Case ( q

Figure 17: Modeled evolution of the bubble front position for the reference Case (q = 2.4), Case 5 (q = 3.57) and Case 9 (q = 2.87)

The effect the variable q has on the superficial gas velocity through the throughflow phase is too small to give a qualitative description of the influence the variable has on the throughflow phase. Therefore, attention is given to the superficial gas velocity through the emulsion-only phase, shown in Figure 18, where the influence of the variable q is much clearer.

18, where the influence of the variable q is much clearer. Figure 18: Modeled superficial gas

Figure 18: Modeled superficial gas velocity through the emulsion phase for the reference case (q = 2.4), Case 7 (q = 4.70), Case 8 (q = 13.99) and Case 9 (q = 2.87).

Increasing q, by increasing bed height (compare the reference case to Case 7), decreasing the characteristic constant of the air distributor compare Case 7 to Case 8), or both, results in a decrease in superficial gas velocity through the emulsion-only phase. Decreasing q (compare Case 7 to Case 9) has the opposite effect on the gas velocity. Regardless of the value of q, the velocity in the emulsion-only phase drops below the minimum fluidization velocity, and the emulsion-only phase is defluidized. In Figure 18 it can also be noted that the amplitude of the velocity fluctuations in the emulsion-only phase increases when decreasing q (compare Case

8 to Case 9), while the fluctuation frequency is barely altered. Hence, the bed height can be argued to determine the frequency while the characteristic constant influences the amplitude of the fluctuations.

As shown in Figure 19, lowering q leads to reduced pressure in the plenum (compare the reference case to Case 6). It can also be seen that the amplitude of the pressure fluctuations decreases as q is lowered. This could, according to the discussion in Section 3.1, indicate that bubbles are smaller, more frequent, and unable to form stable preferred bubble paths through the bed.

to form stable preferred bubble paths through the bed. Figure 19: Modeled pressure levels in the

Figure 19: Modeled pressure levels in the plenum position for the reference case (q = 2.4), Case 6 (q = 0.74) and Case 8 (q = 14)

The tendency observed from the modeled fluctuations (both pressure levels in the plenum and superficial gas velocity in the emulsion-only phase) seems to indicate that the lower the value of q, the less severe the fluctuations, which is also in agreement with the observations discussed in Section 2.2 and shown in Figures 18 and 19. This indicates that the superficial gas velocities in the phases do not differ much, the bubbles are smaller and the bed is probably not operated in the exploding bubble regime.

As noted above, since the application mapping of the model is restricted to the exploding bubble regime, it is not possible to make realistic simulations of cases in which the pressure drop across the distributor dominates strongly over the pressure drop across the bed.

5. Conclusions

A first-step one-dimensional model for the bubble flow in a fluidized bed operated in the

exploding bubble regime has been implemented. From stable preferred bubble paths which commonly occur, a single such bubble path and its adjacent emulsion is assumed to be a representative section of the bed. The gas flow is divided into a throughflow phase and emulsion-only phase. It is found that the fluidization regime depends on the ratio of the pressure drop across the air distributor plate to that across the bed. The model implemented is unique in its capability to account for the influence of the air distributor characteristics and the bed height on the dynamics of both superficial gas velocity and pressure fields.

It was shown that a high pressure drop ratio, q, results in severe fluctuations in the system,

while a lower q results in more moderate fluctuations, which is in agreement with the observations discussed in Section 2.2 and shown in Figures 18 and 19. Moderate fluctuations indicate that the superficial gas velocities in the phases do not differ much: the bubbles are smaller and the bed is probably not operating in the exploding bubble regime. Due to the restriction of the model, it is not possible to perform realistic simulations of cases in which the pressure drop across the distributor dominates strongly over the pressure drop across the bed.

6. Further work

In the short term, in order to encompass other bottom bed regimes besides the exploding bubble regime considered here, criteria and descriptions of the processes taking place when the bubble detaches from the air distributor are needed. This, together with a refined modeling of the fan inertia can open the way for comparison with experimental data on the bubble flow.

In a longer term, once the description of the bubble is completed, the model of the bubble flow can be coupled to the movement of the solids (both mixing and segregation) to obtain a model describing the solids (and thereby, fuel) mixing in the bottom region of a fluidized bed.

References

Abanades, J. C., Grasa, G. S., 2001. Modeling the Axial and Lateral Mixing of Solids in Fluidized Beds. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 40, 5656-5665 Clift, R., Grace, J. R., 1985. In: Fluidization, 2 nd edn., J. F. Davidson et al., eds., pp.79-80, Academic Press, Inc., Orlando, Florida Davidson, J. F., 1985, In: Fluidization 2 nd edn., J. F. Davidson et al. eds., Academic Press, Inc., Orlando, Florida Deemter, van, J. J. 1961. “Mixing and contacting in gas-solid fluidized beds”. Chemical Engineering Science, 18, pp. 143-154. Geldart, D., 1973. Types of gas fluidization, Powder technology, 7, 5, 285-292. Gera, D., Gautam, M., 1994. Variation of throughflow velocity in a 2-D rising bubble. Powder Technology, 79, 257-263. Grace, J. R., Harrison, D., 1969. The behaviour of freely bubbling fluidising beds. Chemical Engineering Science, 24, pp. 497-508. Grace, J. R., 1986. Contacting modes and behaviour classification of gas-solid and other two- phase suspensions. Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, 64, 353-363. Gwyn, J. E., Moser, J. H., Parker, W. A., 1970. A three-phase model for gas-fluidized beds. Chem. Eng. Prog. Symp. Ser., 66, 19-27. Johnsson, F., Andersson, S., Leckner, B., 1991. Expansion of a freely bubbling fluidized bed. Powder Technology, 68, 117-123. Kunii, D., Levenspiel, O., 1991. Fluidization engineering. Butterworth-Heinemann, Newton, MA. Lim, K. S., Gururajan, V. S., Agarwal, P. K., 1993. Mixing of homogeneous solids in bubbling fluidized beds: Theoretical modelling and experimental investigation using image analysis. Chemical Engineering Science, 48, 12, pp. 251-2265. Lim, K. S., Agarwal, P. K., 1994. Circulatory motion of a large and lighter sphere in a bubbling fluidized bed of smaller and heavier particles. Chemical Engineering Science, 49, 3, pp. 421-424. Lim, K. S., Zhu, J. X., Grace, J. R., 1995. Hydrodynamics of gas-solid fluidization, Int. J. Multiphase Flow, 21, Suppl. pp. 141-193. Magnusson, A., Rundqvist, R., Almstedt, A.E., Johnsson, F. 2005. Dual fiber optical probe measurements of solids volume fraction in a circulating fluidized bed. Powder Technology, 151, pp. 19-26. Niklasson, F., Thunman, H., Johnsson, F., Leckner, B., 2002. Estimation of Solids Mixing in a Fluidized-Bed Combustor. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 41, 4663-4673. Pallarès D., 2005. Macroscopic Modeling of Fluid Dynamics in Large-Scale Circulating Fluidized beds, Licenciate Thesis, Dept. of energy and Enviroment, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden. Pallarès, D., Johansson, A., Johnsson, F. 2006. Interpretation of dynamics of pressure measurements. Proc. of the 19 th Int. Conf. on Fluidized Bed Combustion (Vienna, Austria). Pallarès, D., Díez, P., Johnsson, F., 2007. “Experimental Analysis of Fuel Mixing Patterns in a Fluidized Bed”. Proc of the 12 th International Conference on Fluidization, (Vancouver, Canada) Sasic, S., Leckner, B., Johnsson, F., 2005. “Parametric modeling of time series of pressure fluctuations in gas–solid fluidized beds”. Chem. Eng. Sci., 60, 5069-5077 Shi, Y., Fan, L. T., 1984. Lateral Mixing of Solids in Batch Gas-Solids Fluidized Beds. Ind. Eng. Chem. Process Des. Dev., 23, 337-341.

Svensson, A., Johnsson, F., Leckner, B., 1996. Bottom bed regimes in a circulating fluidized bed boiler. Int. J. Multiphase Flow, 22, 6, pp. 1187-1204. Toomey, R.D., Johnstone H.F., 1952. Chemical Engineering Progress, 48, 220 Verloop, J., Nie, L. H., Heertjes, P. M., 1968. The Residence Time of Solids in Gas-Fluidized Beds. Powder Technology, 2, 1, 32-42. Wen, C. Y., Yu, Y. H., 1966. A generalized method for predicting the minimum fluidization velocity. AlChE Journal, 12, 610-612. Werther, J., 1977. Bubble chains in large diameter gas fluidized beds. International Journal of Multiphase Flow, 3(4), 367-381.

Appendix A

The use of optical probes for experimental determination of the local bed porosity

The influence of the superficial gas velocity on the local emulsion porosity has been measured with an optical probe; see Magnusson et al. (2005). The resulting data, given in Table 6, were correlated through linear regression to give an expression for the porosity as a function of the gas velocity. The correlation was formulated expressly to ensure the correct prediction of the point of minimum fluidization, as can be seen in Fig.A.1.

y = 0,2104x + 0,3733

R 2 = 0,5302

Cold Bed

0,75 0,70 0,65 0,60 0,55 0,50 u mf , e mf 0,45 0,40 0,35 0,10
0,75
0,70
0,65
0,60
0,55
0,50
u mf , e mf
0,45
0,40
0,35
0,10
0,30
0,50
0,70
0,90
1,10
1,30
Epsilon

Superficial gas velocity

Figure A.1. Measured porosity values (Epsilon) as a function of the superficial gas velocity. The solid line indicates the correlation adopted.

Particles used in the experiment were typical silica sand particles used as bed material in FBC units. As the gas velocity increases the correlation predicts unreliable values for the porosity, hence the correlation is assumed to be valid only in the range of gas velocities for which the particles can be assumed to expand homogeneously. When the gas reaches such a high velocity that the formation of cluster starts, the porosity is assumed to become independent of the velocity.

Table 6. Data shown in Figure A.1.

 

Epsilon

Epsilon

Gas velocity

(measured)

(correlated)

0.157

0.40632

0.40632

1.180

0.680

0.6214

0.910

0.700

0.5646

1.017

0.703

0.5871

0.917

0.693

0.5660

0.923

0.657

0.5674

0.900

0.610

0.5625

0.960

0.587

0.5751

0.957

0.590

0.5744

0.997

0.563

0.5829

0.867

0.570

0.5555

0.907

0.540

0.5639

0.840

0.553

0.5499

0.913

0.523

0.5653

0.840

0.527

0.5499

0.837

0.527

0.5492

0.787

0.517

0.5387

0.813

0.527

0.5443

0.783

0.513

0.5380

0.780

0.520

0.5373

0.710

0.520

0.5226

0.757

0.517

0.5324

0.747

0.513

0.5303

0.740

0.507

0.5289

0.693

0.503

0.5191

0.680

0.497

0.5163

0.700

0.493

0.5205

0.733

0.490

0.5275

0.767

0.490

0.5345

0.700

0.490

0.5205

0.707

0.490

0.5219

0.637

0.490

0.5071

0.693

0.490

0.5191

0.647

0.483

0.5093

0.637

0.477

0.5071

0.610

0.467

0.5015

0.667

0.463

0.5135

0.743

0.463

0.5296

0.730

0.463

0.5268

Appendix B

Computer code

function [ratio,Dp,Alpha,Emax,Xpos,Tid,U,XiB,P,Eps]=bubbleflowmodel;

% The program determine the dynamic superficial gas velocity and the bubble

% front position.

Tic; clear all; close all; global Repmf Ar i hb0 x k P_ply umf u1 u2 my_air rho_air rho_s dp g e1 e2 emax

%% Constants

g

= 9.82;

% [N/kg]

rho_s

= 2600;

% [kg/m3]

dp

= 0.4e-3;

% [m]

my_air

= 1.81e-5;

% [Pa*s]

rho_air

= 1.189;

% [kg/m3]

hb0

= 0.5;

% bed height at minimum fluidization [m]

k

= 300;

% characteristic constant for the air distributor

u_wanted

= 3;

% operating fluidization gas velocity

deltat

= 1e-4;

% time step

alpha

= 3.5e6;

% initial guess for the fan constant

DBgoal

= 0.27;

% average bubble density

%% Minimum fluidization, Arkimedes and Reynolds number

K1

= 27.2;

K2

= 0.0408;

Ar

= dp^3*rho_air*(rho_s-rho_air)*g/my_air^2;

Repmf

= sqrt(Ar*K2+K1^2)-K1;

umf

= Repmf*my_air/(dp*rho_air);

e_mf

= fzero(@sandra,[0.3 0.6]);

P_ply(1) = rho_s*(1-e_mf)*hb0*g + k*umf^2;

Ptarget = hb0*(1-e_mf)*rho_s*g; %Time-average pressure drop across the bed

%% for t>0 %%

XiBub = 0.80; % Bubble fraction err=1; dp=[dp,dp]; deltaB=DBgoal; while err > 0.01

XiBub

XiEmul = 1-XiBub;

Gast

while Gast > 0.01

= DBgoal/deltaB*XiBub;

= 1; DP = Ptarget;

if Gast > 1 dp(1) = dp(1)*2;

else

dp(1) = dp(1)*DP/Ptarget;

end emax(1) = ptry(my_air,rho_air,dp(1)); emax(2) = ptry(my_air,rho_air,dp(2)); Grind = 1; Umean = u_wanted; while Grind > 0.01 i=1; t=0; x=0; u1=umf; u2=umf; um=umf; Hast=0; P_ply=P_ply(1); e1=e_mf; e2=e_mf; alpha = alpha*u_wanted/Umean; while x(i)<hb0

i = i+1;

t(i) = t(i-1)+deltat; x(i) = x(i-1); P_ply(i) = P_ply(i-1) + alpha*deltat*(u_wanted - um(i-1));

Skillnad = 1; while Skillnad > 1e-5

u1(i) = fsolve(@pelle, u1(i-1),

optimset('Display','off'));

Gamma

= 150*(1-e1(i))^2*my_air/e1(i)^3/(dp(1))^2;

Psi

= 1.75*(1-e1(i))*rho_air/e1(i)^3/(dp(1));

Acc

= (Gamma*u1(i)+Psi*u1(i)^2)/rho_s/(1-e1(i))-g;

X = x(i-1) + Hast(i-1)*deltat + Acc*deltat^2/2; Skillnad = abs(x(i) - X);

x(i) = X;

end

if x(i)<=-1e-4

% safety measure when ratio is below one

disp('Negative X!'); keyboard

end

 

Hast(i) = 2/deltat*(x(i)-x(i-1))-Hast(i-1);

u2(i)

= fsolve(@palle,u2(i-1),optimset('Display','off'));

um(i)

= u1(i)*XiBub + u2(i)*XiEmul;

 

end Umean = mean(um); Grind = abs(Umean-u_wanted)/u_wanted;

end

Pdist = k*(u1.^2*XiBub + u2.^2*XiEmul);

Pbed

= P_ply - Pdist; DP

= mean(Pbed);

Gast = abs(DP-Ptarget)/Ptarget;

 

end deltaB = mean(XiBub*x/hb0); = abs(deltaB-DBgoal)/DBgoal;

err

end

toc

Ptarget = Ptarget*ones(1,length(t)); ratio

Dp=dp; Alpha=alpha; Emax=emax; Xpos=x; Tid=t; XiB=XiBub;

U=[u1; u2; um]; P=[P_ply; Pbed; Ptarget]; Eps=[e1; e2];

= mean(Pbed)/mean(Pdist);

%% --- Subfunctions --- %% function bd = sandra(e) global Repmf Ar bd = (1.75*Repmf^2/(e^3) + 150*(1-e)*Repmf/(e^3)-Ar);

function bb = pelle(urban)

global i hb0 x k P_ply dp e1 my_air rho_air emax e_f = 0.2104*urban+0.37325; e1(i) = min(e_f,emax(1));

A = 150*(1-e1(i))^2*my_air/e1(i)^3/dp(1)^2;

B = 1.75*(1-e1(i))*rho_air/e1(i)^3/dp(1);

bb = (hb0-x(i))*(A*urban+B*urban^2)+k*urban^2-P_ply(i);

function bc = palle(urban) global i hb0 k P_ply dp my_air rho_air e2 emax e_f = 0.2104*urban+0.37325; e2(i) = min(e_f,emax(2));

A = 150*(1-e2(i))^2*my_air/e2(i)^3/dp(2)^2;

B = 1.75*(1-e2(i))*rho_air/e2(i)^3/dp(2);

bc = hb0*(A*urban+B*urban^2)+k*urban^2-P_ply(i);

function [Emax]= ptry(my_air,rho_air,dp) Ugas = linspace(0,5,1e5);

E = 0.2104*Ugas+0.37325;

A = 150*(1-E).^2*my_air./E.^3./dp.^2;

B = 1.75*(1-E)*rho_air./E.^3./dp;

DPDX = A.*Ugas + B.*Ugas.^2;

toppen = max(DPDX);

i = find(DPDX == toppen); Emax = E(i(1));