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Novel measurement of solids circulation rate in pilot-scale dual fluidized bed gasifier at high temperature Rahman, Md. Hafizur


A number of fluidized bed reactor processes operating at high temperature require that solid particles be circulated back and forth between two reactor vessels. Since the circulation rate strongly affects mass and energy balances, and therefore greatly influences hydrodynamics and performance of the system, a reliable technique for its accurate measurement would be helpful in monitoring and modeling the process. However, there are no reported techniques suitable for measuring this critical hydrodynamic parameter at elevated temperatures typical of gasification systems. A novel thermal-tracing technique was developed for measuring the solids circulation rate between two vessels. Packets of particles at lower temperatures are injected into a downward-moving packed bed of solids at elevated temperature, creating reduced-temperature zones inside the moving bed. The transit time of the cold-particle-clusters between pairs of thermocouples is determined by cross correlation, allowing the flux to be estimated. The technique was shown to provide sensitive and reproducible data for a cold model unit with injection of dry ice. The technique was then applied to determine solids circulation rates between the bubbling bed gasifier and the riser combustor of a pilot scale dual fluidized bed gasification system. A number of conditions are imposed on the data to eliminate unsatisfactory data at high temperatures. Data which satisfy the discrimination criteria led to measured solids circulation fluxes up to 133 kg/m²s at temperatures up to 856°C in the gasifier test section. A novel butterfly valve technique was developed to validate the thermal-tracing technique at high temperatures. Closing the valve causes solids to accumulate in the downcomer section of the pilot gasifier. The elevation of the top surface of these solids was tracked with high-temperature capacitance sensors, facilitating determination of the solids circulation flux between the two reactors of the pilot plant. The fluxes were also estimated using two indirect methods based on pressure balance and energy balance techniques. Agreement among the fluxes obtained from applying these four techniques are reasonable given the difficulty in measuring solids circulation rates.

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