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With increasing demand for energy, depleting primary energy sources (i.e. coal and oil) and
deteriorating environment, it has become essential not only to use the existing energy sources
efficiently but also to develop alternate or non-conventional sources of energy. Of the various
renewable energy sources available, biomass appears to offer a promising solution to tackle
the ever increasing energy demand (Basu, 2006). Biomass is an organic matter produced by
plants, both terrestrial (those grown on land) and aquatic (those grown in water) and their
derivatives. It includes forest crops and residues and animal manures. Biomass is the term
used in the context of energy for a range of products which have been derived from
photosynthesis. Thus everything which has been derived from the process of photosynthesis
is a potential source of energy. Biomass constitutes a significant, clean and renewable energy
source and has very desirable option. Photosynthesis or photo-biological process is a
continuous activity creating organic carbon that burns with less air pollution than fossil fuels.
Photosynthesis helps to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and generates oxygen,
the life sustaining gas. Thus it helps to remove environmental pollution. Since plants use
carbon dioxide for their growth, greater sources on biomass production may help to restore
clean environment. Biomass energy is thus environmentally a very acceptable resource.
CFD modelling is a powerful tool for development of new ideas and technologies and for
fundamental understanding of fluidsolid interactions. CFD has enabled the correct
theoretical prediction of various macroscopic phenomena encountered in fluidized beds by
quantifying the physical and chemical processes in the biomass thermo- chemical reactors.
Accurate simulations can help to optimize the system design and operation thereby helping to
understand the dynamic process inside the reactors. Thus with the CFD simulations flow
behaviour within the gasifier can be understood properly.
Technologies to convert biomass in to energy fall in two categories as mention below.
i. Bio chemical conversion (anaerobic digestion, fermentation) process
ii. Thermo chemical conversion (combustion and gasification) process.

1.1 Thermo-chemical Conversion

Gasification and direct combustion are two examples of thermo-chemical conversion process.
Direct combustion is probably the most common conversion process whereby solid biomass
is burnt in a confined container, stove or boiler. Gasification is a process of turning solid
biomass into combustible gas. The solid biomass is partially burnt in presence of air or
oxygen to produce gases of low or medium calorific value.

1.2 Advantages of Biomass Gasification

Advantages of biomass energy utilization include ensuring the sustainability of energy supply
in the long term as well as reducing the impact on the environment. As biomass energy uses
agricultural waste as fuel, it is considered CO2 neutral and emissions of sulfur dioxides and
nitrogen oxides are very low, making it a good option as clean fuel for the environment.
Indeed, among the technologies available for using biomass for producing electricity,
gasification is relatively new. Gasification is primarily a thermo-chemical conversion of
organic materials at elevated temperatures with partial oxidation. In gasification, the biomass
or any other organic matter is converted to combustible gases (i.e. mixture of CO, CH4 and
H2), with char, water, and condensable as minor products.
1.3 Advantage of FBG
The concern for climatic variations has triggered the interest in biomass gasification making
fluidized bed gasifiers as one the popular options, occupying nearly 20% of the market.
(i) Fluidized Bed gasifier can handle all types of dry small sized biomass wastes.
(ii) It can be operated batch wise and in continuous manner.
FBG handling biomass produces syn-gas of high colorific value and solid wastes with less
ash content. Time taken for biomass conversion is less and density of char is less. Wastes
from agro industry, timber industry, sugar industry etc. can also be used for power generation.
In rural areas, biomass samples are readily available for which power problem can easily be
solved with proper gasification technology.
1.4 Application of Biomass Gasification
1. To recover energy and reduce emission to atmosphere
2. Heat and steam generation
3. Electrical power generation
1.5 Objectives
Objective of the present work has been framed in the following manner.
a) Experimental analysis on production of H2 from different biomass samples using FBG
c) To study the performance of gasifier by carrying out energy analysis of different biomass
d) To carry out CFD analysis for fluidized bed Gasifier for different biomass samples in the
following manner :
i).by simulating the hydrodynamic behaviors of fluidized bed gasifier at isothermal condition.
ii).by investigating the thermo-flow behavior inside the gasifier with Particles.

2.1 Fluidized Bed Gasifier
Air or oxygen is injected upward at the bottom. Gasifier allows an intensive mixing and a
good heat transfer to take place. Granular inert solids (usually silica sand) along with the
feedstock are fluidized by the gasifying agent. Reactions take place simultaneously in the bed
as it has no separated Reduction zone. Four distinct stages in the gasifier are as follows.
1. Drying, 2. Pyrolysis, 3. Reduction and 4. Combustion
Schematic diagram of the gasifier with different zones are shown below.

Fig. 1.1: Fluidized Bed Gasifier

Fig. 1.2: Basic Process Chemistry

2.2 Chemistry of Reaction

Pyrolysis generally produces the following three products Gases like H2, CO, CH4, H2O, and
CO2 Char, a solid residue containing carbon Tar, a black, viscous and corrosive liquid.
Combustion Zone
C + O2 = CO2
H2 + 0.5O2 = H2O
Reaction Zone
C + CO2 = 2CO
C + H2O = CO + H2
CO + H2O = CO2 + H2
C + 2H2 = CH4

2.3 Previous work

Table 2.1- work on Fluidized bed Gasifier.
Keijo et al.

Work on FBG
Studied co-combustion and gasification of various biomass samples
using steam gasification. Wood based fuel and waste agricultural
wastes, waste paper etc. were used for heat and power generation.

Schiffer et al.

gasified different biomass samples including pulp and paper sludge

to municipal sludge. They used high temperature Winkler (HTW)
process where solid feed stocks are gasified in a fluidized bed at
elevated pressure using oxygen plus steam or air as gasification
agents. They observed that biomass and waste materials often
incorporate a higher amount of volatile matter, different proportions
and compositions of inorganic matter having a significant variety of
physical properties in comparison with coal. Therefore, gasification
or co-gasification of peat, wood, sewage sludge has consequences
with regard to feed stock preparation, gasification behavior,
corrosion, emissions and residues. Thus, they recommended that
HTW process is favourable for the conversion of Biomass.

Chern et al.

Used an empirical stoichiometric equation for wood chip

gasification in a commercial-scale moving bed downdraft gasifier.
The equation is based on an analysis of overall and elemental
material balance for experimental data obtained with the gasifier. A
thermodynamic analysis of the gasifier has also been performed.
Resultant empirical efficiencies of the gasifier have been evaluated
for four different operating models at three different output
temperatures. The resultant empirical stoichiometry was found to be
in agreement with the experimental observations.

Natarajan et al.

Determined agglomeration tendencies of some common agricultural

residues in fluidized bed combustion and gasification system. It is
observed that the combustion zone temperature is in the order of
900 10000C as in moving bed gasifiers and 800-9000C in fluidized
bed gasifiers. The ashes of biomass feed stocks were observed to
have ash fusion temperatures in the range of 8000C to 15000C.
Carried out a comparative study on gasification process between
fluidized and fixed bed gasifier using different feed samples. Other
aspects such as technology involved in the process, energy
consumption for the process, environmental problem caused by the
process and overall economy of the process were also analyzed by
him. It was concluded that there is no significant advantage with
fixed bed gasifier or fluidized bed gasifier.

et al.

Rao et al.

Worked on thermo chemical characterization of various biomass

samples using down draft gasifier and fixed bed and fluidized bed
gasifiers. They observed that producer gas obtained is contaminated
with tars, chars and ash particles to different degree depending upon
the reactor type and feed stock utilized. The moisture content varies
over a wide range from oven dry to about 90% on wet basis and ash
content varies from 0.5 to 22%. Highest heating value of 12-18
MJ.N/m3 was observed with producer gas.
Murakami et Discussed on some process fundamentals for biomass gasification
al. (2006)
in dual fluidized bed. The dual uidized bed gasication technology
is prospective because it produces high calorie product gas, free of
N2 even when air is used to generate the heat required for
gasication via in situ combustion. The necessary process
fundamentals for development of a bubbling uidized bed (BFB)
biomass gasier coupled with pneumatic transported riser (PTR)
char combustor were also studied by them.
Ramirez et al.
Suggested on the basic design of a pilot scale Fluidized Bed
Gasifier for handling Rice Husk. According to them the gasifier was
divided in seven parts or sub-systems Intending to produce an
energetic gas. Experimental tests conducted with such a gasifier
showed that the developed procedure is adequate with a maximum
deviation of 50% for the operational performance variables.
Kumar et al.
Modified steam and air fluidized bench-scale FBG. The effects of
furnace temperature, steam to biomass ratio and equivalence ratio
on gas composition, carbon conversion efficiency and energy
conversion efficiency of the product gas were studied by them.

Table 2.2- CFD on Fluidized bed Gasifier.


Models used

Parameter studied

Fletcher et al. Model is based on the CFX

package. Biomass particulate is
modelled via a Lagrangian

Turbulent fluid flow, heat transfer, species

combustion, and gas phase chemical
reactions are described


Studied drying and devolatilization of

biomass, heterogeneous reactions of char.


S. 3-D,
approach for bubbling fluidized
Yu kinetic theory of granular flow
to simulate coal gasification in
a bubbling fluidized bed

Studied different cases for coal feed rate,

air supply, steam supply and bed
temperatures, instantaneous drying and
devolatilization in the feed zone

Gerun et al. 2D axisymmetric CFD model Verified temperature profile, stream

for the oxidation zone in a two- function, gas path line tar concentration

stage downdraft gasifier


and compared with experimental data.

Euler-Euler approach to model Study the complex hydrodynamics of

the behavior of the sand and fluidized bed.
investigation of momentum
transport to one biomass

Yiqun Wang Three-dimensional CFD model

of a fluidized bed for sewage
LifengYan sludge gasifier

Model described complex physical and

chemical phenomena in the gasifier,
including turbulent flow, heat and mass
transfer, and chemical reactions

S. Gerber et al. Eulerian multiphase approach Wood pyrolysis, char gasification and
for modelling the gasification homogeneous gas phase reactions are
of wood in fluidized bed.
concentrations datas compared with
experimental data
Tingwen Li et Details of high resolution
al. (2010)
simulations of coal injection in

Studied effects of grid resolution and

numerical discretization scheme on the
predicted behavior of coal injection and
gasification kinetics.

The bed dynamics, thermal-flow and gasification process in a fluidized bed gasifier are
studied. A two-dimensional three-phase flow model is simulated using Air as continuous
phase and binary mixtures as dispersed phase. An Eulerian Granular Multiphase model has
been used and simulations are carried out using the commercial CFD package ANSYS Fluent
15.0.0.Inert material sand considered as the bed material, Biomass (Sugarcane-bagasse) as
the feed sample. Air is used as fluidizing medium. Both homogeneous (gas-gas) reaction and
heterogeneous (gas-solid) reactions are simulated in this study.

Fig. 3(a): Geometry of fluidized bed (b) 2-D Mesh

Table 3.1 Meshing
Minimum mesh size
Maximum mesh size
Number of nodes
Number of elements

0.0005 m
0.005 m


Continuity Equation:

Momentum Equation (For Gas Phases)

Momentum Equation (For Solid Phases)

Conservation of Energy

Species transport equations




Solid viscosity


Solid bulk viscosity

Lun et al.

Frictional viscosity


Solid pressure

Lun et al.

Drag law (gas-solid)


solid-solid interaction

Syamlal and OBrien symmetric

Boundary Conditions:

Inlet- velocity

Outlet- pressure

Wall- no slip

Pressure Velocity Coupling: Phase coupled Simple Algorithm

Spatial Discretization:

Least Squares Cell Based


Second Order Upwind

Volume fraction:

QUICK scheme

Turbulent Kinetic Energy:

Second Order Upwind

Turbulent Dissipation Rate:

Second Order Upwind

Species Equations

Second Order Upwind


Isothermal non-reactive, unsteady state gas-solid cold model FB gasifier. Operating
conditions: temperature 300K and pressure of 1 atm. solid initially in static condition inside
the fluidized bed column. Solid particle velocity is set at zero.The single pressure field shared
for all three phases, in proportion to their volume fractions




Mean particle size, 385

Apparent density, 2650

530, 856













Static bed height, m


Superficial gas velocities , m/s

0.2,0.5, 0.7

restitution coefficient, e


Time Steps(sec)



5.1 Contours of Solid Volume Fraction

Fig.5.1- contour plot of volume fraction against time for sugarcane bagasse at air velocity of
0.2m/s for initial static bed height of 0.1m.

Fig.5.2- contour plot of volume fraction against time for coconut-coir at air velocity of 0.2m/s
for initial static bed height of 0.1m.

Fig.5.3- contour plot of volume fraction against time for sand (sugarcane-bagasse) at air
velocity of 0.2m/s for initial static bed height of 0.1m.


Fig.5.4- contour plot of volume fraction against time for sand (coconut-coir) at air velocity of
0.2m/s for initial static bed height of 0.1m.
The contour plots of the sugarcane bagasse , coconut-coir and sand with an inlet velocity of
0.2m/s have been shown in fig.5.1,fig. 5.2,fig.5.3 and fig.5.4 respectively. It is observed from
fig.5.1 and fig.5.2 that bubbles are formed only within the static bed height without any
noticeable bed expansion. The reason may be attributed to the fact that bubbling occurs at the
surface only. In other words, solids in the bottom section of the bed are in pneumatic
transport while fluidization in the upper section is in freely bubbling state.

Fig.5.5- contour plot of volume fraction against time for sugarcane bagasse at air velocity of
0.5m/s for initial static bed height of 0.1m.

Fig.5.6- contour plot of volume fraction against time for coconut-coir at air velocity of 0.5m/s
for initial static bed height of 0.1m.

Fig.5.7- contour plot of volume fraction against time for sand at air velocity of 0.5m/s for
initial static bed height of 0.1m.

Fig.5.8- contour plot of volume fraction against time for cc sand at air velocity of 0.5m/s for
initial static bed height of 0.1m.

Fig.5.5 and fig.5.6 shows the variation in the bed profile with time for sugarcane bagasse and
coconut-coir at air velocity of 0.5m/s. the contour plot has been plotted with time step of
10secs. While simulating the fluidized bed, it is observed that the bed profile changes with
time. But after some time significant change is observing the bed profile. This indicates that
the fluidized bed has come to a quasi-steady state. The contour plot in Fig.5.5 and fig.5.6
shows higher solid volume fractions along the walls compared to the core region. This may
be due to the segregative tendencies of the particles towards the walls or gulf streaming. Thus
the solid particles slide down along the wall of the reactor without too much resistance from
the upward gas flow.


Fig.5.9- contour plot of volume fraction against time for sugarcane bagasse at air velocity of
0.7m/s for initial static bed height of 0.1m.

Fig.5.10- contour plot of volume fraction against time for coconut-coir at air velocity of
0.7m/s for initial static bed height of 0.1m.

Fig.5.11- contour plot of volume fraction against time for sand at air velocity of 0.7m/s for
initial static bed height of 0.1m.


Fig.5.12- contour plot of volume fraction against time for cc sand at air velocity of 0.7m/s for
initial static bed height of 0.1m.

Fig.5.13-Air volume fraction with Air Velocity for sugarcane-bagasse.

Fig.5.14-Air volume fraction with Air Velocity for coconut-coir.


Fig.5.9, fig.5.10, fig. 5.11, fig.5.12, fig. 5.13 and fig.5.14 show the contours of volume
fractions of sugarcane bagasse. ,coconut-coir Sand and air obtained at air velocity of 0.7m/s
for initial static bed height 0.1m in 2-D fluidized bed after the quasi steady state is achieved.
The contour scale given to the left of each contours gives the value of volume fractions
corresponding to any particular colour. The contours for sugarcane bagasse , coconut-coir and
sand illustrates that bed is in fluidized condition. The contour for air illustrates that volume
fraction of the gas is less in fluidized section than the solid particles.
5.2. Phase Velocity
The velocity vectors show magnitude of velocity with direction and thud helpful to determine
the flow pattern in fluidized bed. The velocity vector of sugarcane bagasse, coconut-coir ,
sand and air in the column obtained after the quasi steady state at air velocity of 0.7 m/s with
initial static bed height of 0.1m are shown in fig.5.15, fig.5.16 ,fig. 5.17 and fig.5.18.

Fig.5.15- Velocity vector of sugarcane bagasse and sand at air velocity 0.7 m/s.

Fig.5.16- Velocity vector of sugarcane bagasse and sand at air velocity 0.7 m/s.


Fig.5.17-Velocity contour and vector of air (sugarcane-bagasse) at air velocity 0.7 m/s.

Fig.5.18-Velocity contour and vector of air (coconut-coir) at air velocity 0.7 m/s.
From velocity of solid phase (fig.5.15 and fig. 5.16), it is observed that there is vigorous
movement of solid particles throughout the bed implying that the velocity at the bottom is
less. In the central region of the bed, direction of velocity near the wall is observed to be
downwards while that in the region away from wall is upwards. In the upper part of fluidizing
section there is circulatory motion/ downward motion of the solid particle near the wall and
upward motion in the central region of the bed. The velocity vector of gas phase in the
column(fig.5.17 and fig.5.18) indicate that there is an upward flow throughout the column
which implies that velocity of air is very less within the bed compared to that in remaining
part of the column. This is due to very small volume fraction of air within the bed compared
to solids in the region. In the upper section of the column, air velocity is high thus it carries
air bubbles but in the lower section of the column solid particles obstruct the movement of
bubbles thereby reduces air velocity.

5.3. Bed pressure drop

The axial pressure drop in a fluidized bed varies from higher value at the bottom of the bed
to zero value at the top of the column. The bed pressure drop can be determined from the
difference of pressure at the inlet and outlet. Fig.5.19 and fig.5.20 shows the contours of
static gauge pressure. It is evident from the figure that the pressure is higher in the inlet and
gradually decreases and became zero at the outlet.

Fig.5.19: contour of bed pressure drop against air velocity for the fluidized bed for sugarcanebaggase.


Fig.5.20: contour of bed pressure drop against air velocity for the fluidized bed for coconutcoir.
5.4. Effects of inlet velocities
The volume fraction distribution for the particles using the Gidaspow model with three inlet
velocities, i.e., 0.2 m/s, 0.5 m/s and 0.7 m/s, are shown in fig.5.21 and fig. 5..22 for particles
with a diameter of 530 m. If the gas velocity does not exceed V the particles fall back down
to the particle bed. This is referred to as a bubbling bed and is shown in fig.5.21 and fig. 5.22
Exceeding V means the suspended particles can be carried with the gas phase and continue up
the riser. This fast fluidization state has been shown in fig.5.21 and fig. 5.22.
The contour plot of fig.5.21 and fig. 5.22 Shows bubbles increasing in size and distorting
with increase height. This is due to the coalescence of the bubbles with smaller bubbles rising
from the base of the reactor. As the velocity increases, the bubbles sizes increase and the
solid-gas mixture appears more dilute particularly towards the top of the bed. The solids
descend to the base of the reactor as the solids and gas compromise.


Fig.5.21: Particle volume fraction and velocity vector for Sugarcane-bagasse.

Fig.5.22: Particle volume fraction and velocity vector for coconut coir.

The fast fluidizing states in fig.5.21 and fig. 5.22 Show very dilute distributions in
comparison to the bubbling models. The particle volume fraction and particle velocity are
shown in gas velocity i.e., 0.7m/s which is only slightly lower than the terminal
velocity. Increasing the gas velocity allows for a faster flow of gas to push the collection
particles higher up the bed. fig.5.21 and fig. 5..22. Shows the particle volume fraction and
particle velocity at gas velocity 0.7 m/s. So terminal velocity in the present study is found to
be approximately 1.9m/s.
5.6. Particle distributions
Fig.5.13 illustrates radial variation of solid concentration at different bed heights at air
velocity 0.7 m/s which shows higher particle volume fraction along the walls compared to the

core region. The result confirms that the solid volume fraction is not symmetrical. According
to the axial solid volume concentration profile (fig.5.13) the riser is axially divided into the
lower zone and upper zone. The lower region of FB riser is denser than the upper-dilute
region even through the solids mainly accumulate in both sides the wall for 2D model. The
computed time averaged volume fraction of sugarcane-bagasse and sand particles for a bed
height of 0.15 m and a gas velocity of 0.5 m/s are compared (Fig.5.14) the volume fraction of
particles is observed to be lower in the central region than the region near the wall. From the
simulation result as shown in the figures, the hydrodynamic model is able to describe
quantitatively the accumulation of solids near the wall. Solid concentrations appear flat in the
central region and increase towards the wall. This is due to the segregative tendencies of the
particles towards the walls.

Fig.5.23- Sugarcane-bagasse particle concentration against the radial position for different
bed height at air inlet velocity of 0.7 m/s

Fig.5.24- comparison of distributions of sugarcane-bagasse and sand at air velocity 0.5 m/s.
6.1 Thermal flow Behaviour with Solids (No Reactions)
This case analysis the thermal flow behaviour with particles as well as the fluidization in the
geometry. Sand and sugarcane-bagasse particles are patched up to a static bed height 0.1m.
The air enters at a velocity of 0.7 m/s at 673 K and 1273 K flow through the bed. All the
other boundary conditions, simulation model parameter and solution techniques used in this
study are the same as taken for previous hydrodynamic study.

6.2 Result and Discussion

Fig.6.1 fig.6.2, fig.6.3and fig.6.4 shows the particle velocity field versus air velocity field. It
can be clearly seen that all air streams move upward whereas particles circulate within the
fluidized bed in the bottom part of the domain. At 0.7 m/s inlet air velocity, no particles are
seen in the upper part of the domain. A sequence of volume fraction distributions of
sugarcane- bagasse and Coconut - coir are shown in Fig 6.5 , fig 6.6, fig.6.7 and fig.6.8 at
different seconds.
Bubbles are formed above the inlet due to the fast supply of air at a rate of 0.7 m/s. Then
bubbles continue to rise towards the top of the bed along the wall. The bubbles also appears
too elongated and circle back round towards the walls. This indicates the solid particles in the
bed move in a circular motion there by influencing and distorting the bubble back towards the
wall. This is more clearly evident in Fig.6.1 fig.6.2, fig.6.3and fig.6.4 which displays the
particle velocity vectors. Since no reactions are simulated in this case, the temperature inside
the domain is considered to be uniform (Fig.6.9, fig. 6.10, fig6.11 and fig.6.12).

Fig.6.1 Velocity vector plot for Sand, Sugarcane-bagasse and air coloured by static pressure
(Pascal) at Temperature 673 K.


Fig.6.2 Velocity vector plot for Sand, coconut - coir and air coloured by static pressure
(Pascal) at Temperature 673 K.

Fig.6.3 Velocity vector plot for Sand, Sugarcane-bagasse and air coloured by static pressure
(Pascal) at Temperature 1273 K.

Fig.6.4 Velocity vector plot for Sand, Coconut coir and air coloured by static pressure
(Pascal) at Temperature 1273 K.


Fig.6.5 Distribution of volume fraction of sugarcane bagasse with time at air velocity 0.7
m/s and Temperature 673K.

Fig.6.6 Distribution of volume fraction of coconut-coir with time at air velocity 0.7 m/s and
Temperature 673K.

Fig.6.7 Distribution of volume fraction of sugarcane bagasse with time at air velocity 0.7
m/s and Temperature 1273K.


Fig.6.8 Distribution of volume fraction of coconut-coir with time at air velocity 0.7 m/s and
Temperature 1273K.

Fig.6.9-Temperature profile at different time intervals inside the fluidized bed at temperature673 K for sugarcane-bagasse..

Fig.6.10-Temperature profile at different time intervals inside the fluidized bed at

temperature- 673 K for coconut-coir.


Fig.6.11 -Temperature profile at different time intervals inside the fluidized bed at
temperature- 1273 K for sugarcane-bagasse.

Fig.6.12 -Temperature profile at different time intervals inside the fluidized bed at
temperature- 1273 K for coconut-coir.
CFD modelling of fluidized bed biomass gasifier is carried out by using Eulerian granular
multiphase model. Increasing superficial gas velocity makes the flow development faster.The
bed expansion behavior is found to vary with gas velocity. Able to describe quantitatively the
accumulation of solid at the wall. Results give information concerning the thermal-flow
behaviour and gasification process
Future work needs to be carried out to observe the effect of bed height on minimum
fluidization velocity for various other particle systems of mean size in the range as mentioned
in the Fluidized bed Biomass Gasifier.
High temperature studies will also be carried out using a High temperature fluidized bed
Gasifier different particles as coconut coir, Shaw dust, rice straw and wood chips (Air
temperature up to 1273 K). A further study is to be carried out using ANSYS/FLUENT 15.0


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