A DEM modeling of biomass fast pyrolysis in a double auger reactor

F. Qi, M. M. Wright
International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
Auger reactor, Discrete element method, Fast pyrolysis, Reacting granular flow, Scalibility

Thermochemical conversion of biomass via fast pyrolysis is a proven pathway to product low-carbon crude bio-oils. In this research, an extended discrete element method (DEM) is proposed for simulating biomass fast pyrolysis reacting granular flows in a double auger reactor, in which particle hydrodynamics and interparticle heat transfer processes are involved and coupled with chemical reactions in solid particles. An adaptive time step algorithm is proposed to achieve a stable coupling between the integration of reaction ordinary differential equations and the DEM solver, and the algorithm is proven computationally efficient. A multi-component fast pyrolysis kinetics is adopted and its modeling accuracy is assessed by carrying out simulations of benchmark biomass pyrolysis experiments and comparing the prediction results with experimental data. The predicted product yields of bio-oil, char and non-condensable gas from the simulation of the biomass fast pyrolysis in the auger reactor are in satisfactory agreement with experimental measurements. The decomposition rates of biomass components in the reactor are revealed from the simulation and the pyrolysis number Py is calculated from the decomposition rate of biomass and the heat transfer coefficient. The Py number illustrates that the biomass fast pyrolysis process is limited by the heat transfer process at particle size of 2 mm.

Keywords: Fast pyrolysis, Discrete Element Method, Auger reactor, Reacting granular flow, Scalibility

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