Abstract: Biomass is a renewable energy source that can help in reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Thermochemical conversion is a technique to convert biomass into energy dense liquid/gas fuels utilizing heat in fluidized bed reactors. Design and scale-up of these reactors are mostly empirical, in part due to poor understanding of the underlying processes, relying heavily on pilot-scale reactors studies, which are time consuming and expensive. The multiphase and multi-physics nature of these reactors along with large separation of length and time scales make it challenging to get insight into the associated physical and chemical processes. Modeling and simulation tools have the potential to provide detailed information about the processes associated with these reactors and help in optimizing them. However, several improvements are required in the current modeling tools before they can be fully utilized in the design and optimization of these reactors. For instance, current modeling tools lack the adequate representation of the reactions
and the intra-particle transport processes of biomass, which can have a significant effect on the yield and composition of reactor products. In this talk, I will discuss progress in addressing these challenges: 1) the development of a computationally affordable chemical kinetic model for the reactions of biomass conversion and 2) the development of a mathematical model to describe the intra-particle transport processes of biomass particles. The developed chemical kinetic model and intra-particle model are integrated within the CFD framework, NGA, to simulate lab-scale reactors.
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