The gasification technology has been applied in Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) plants for the production of power, and polygeneration plants for the production of industrial chemicals, fuels, hydrogen, and power. The major advantages of the gasification technology are its potential for feed-stock flexibility, product flexibility, and relative simple removal of harmful emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx), and CO2. Entrained-flow gasifiers are the preferred gasifier design for future deployment due to their high carbon conversion, high efficiency and high syngas purity. Current entrained-flow gasifier designs still have serious problems such as injector failure, refractory failure, slag blockages, downstream fouling and poisoning, poor space efficiency, and lack of dynamic feedstock flexibility. To better understand the entrained-flow gasification process, we performed steady Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) modeling of the laboratory-scale gasifier developed at Brigham Young University (BYU) using ANSYS Fluent. An Eulerian approach is used to describe the gas phase, and a Lagrangian approach is used to describe the particle phase. The interactions between the gas phase and particle phase is modeled using the particle-source-in-cell approach. Turbulence is modeled using the shear-stress transport (SST) k–ω model. Turbulent particle dispersion is taken into account by using the discrete random walk model. Devolatilization is modeled using a version of the chemical percolation devolatilization (CPD) model, and char consumption is described with a shrinking core model. Turbulent combustion in the gas phase is modeled using a finite-rate/eddy-dissipation model. Radiation is considered by solving the radiative transport equation with the discrete ordinates model. Second-order upwind scheme is used to solve all gas phase equations. First, to validate the flow solver, we performed numerical modeling of a non-reacting particle-laden bluff-body flow. For the non-reacting flow, the predicted mean velocities of the gas phase and the particle phase are in good agreement with the experimental data. Next, we performed numerical modeling of the gasification process in the BYU gasifier. The predicted profiles of the mole fractions of the major species (i.e. CO, CO2, H2, and H2O) along the centerline are in reasonable agreement with the experimental data. The predicted carbon conversion at the gasifier exit agrees with the experimental data. The predicted temperature at the gasifier exit agrees with the estimated value based on water-gas shift equilibrium considerations. The numerical model was further applied to study the effects of the equivalence ratio, particle size, and swirl on the gasification process.

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