A bench-scale fluidized bed combustor with a novel fluidizing gas injection manifold was successfully built for characterization of Australian black coals under pressurized fluidized bed combustion (PFBC) conditions. The bed of silica sand (mean size 1.3 mm and density 2700 kg/m3) was 40 mm ID with a static height of 75 mm. This facility was designed to operate at 1.6 MPa, 850°C and a fluidizing velocity of 0.9 m/s, identical to those used industrially, in order to match as closely as possible the local hydrodynamic environment around each coal particle in an industrial PFBC. To verify satisfactory hydrodynamic performance with the novel gas injection manifold, the fluidization was directly investigated by measuring differential pressure fluctuations under both ambient and PFBC conditions. In addition, a Perspex cold model was built to simulate at ambient conditions the hydrodynamics of the hot bed in this PFBC facility. The cold model was constructed to a geometric scale of 1.431:1, determined by Glicksman’s scaling law. Under PFBC conditions of 1.6 MPa, 850°C and 0.9 m/s, the bed in UNSW’s PFBC facility operated in a stable bubbling regime and the solids were very well mixed. The bubbles in this PFBC were effectively cloudless and no gas backmixing or slugging occurred; so the gas flow in this bed could be modeled by assuming two phases (bubble and particulate) with plug flow through each phase. The results from the cold model showed that the ratio of Umf for the simulated bed to Umf for the hot PFBC bed matched the conditions proposed by Glicksman’s scaling laws. The bubbles rose along the bed with axial and lateral movements (moving both towards and from the wall), and erupted from the bed surface evenly and randomly at different locations. Two patterns of particle movement were observed in the cold model bed: a circular pattern near the top section, and a rising and falling pattern dominating the particle movement in the lower section created by the rising bubbles.

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