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BIOMASS AND BIOENERGY 32 (2008) 1245 – 1254

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Simulation of biomass gasification in fluidized bed reactor


Mehrdokht B. Nikooa, Nader Mahinpeya,b,

Environmental Systems Engineering, University of Regina, 3737 Wascana Parkway, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada S4S 0A2
Process Systems Engineering, University of Regina, 3737 Wascana Parkway, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada S4S 0A2

art i cle info ab st rac t

Article history: A comprehensive process model is developed for biomass gasification in an atmospheric
Received 10 February 2007 fluidized bed gasifier using the ASPEN PLUS simulator. The proposed model addresses both
Received in revised form hydrodynamic parameters and reaction kinetic modeling. Governing hydrodynamic
19 February 2008 equations for a bubbling bed and kinetic expressions for the char combustion are adopted
Accepted 29 February 2008 from the literature. Four ASPEN PLUS reactor models and external FORTRAN subroutines
Available online 11 April 2008 for hydrodynamics and kinetics nested in ASPEN PLUS simulate the gasification process.
Different sets of operating conditions for a lab-scale pine gasifier are used to demonstrate
validation of the model.
Temperature increases the production of hydrogen and enhances carbon conversion
efficiency. Equivalence ratio is directly proportional to carbon dioxide production and
Fluidized bed
carbon conversion efficiency. Increasing steam-to-biomass ratio increases hydrogen and
carbon monoxide production and decreases carbon dioxide and carbon conversion
efficiency. Particle average size in the range of 0.25–0.75 mm does not seem to contribute
significantly to the composition of product gases.
& 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction Perfect contact between gas and solid, along with a

high degree of turbulence, improves heat and mass
Biomass, fuel derived from organic matter on a renewable transfer characteristics, enhances the ability to control
basis, is among the largest sources of energy in the world, third temperature, and increases heat storage and volumetric
only to coal and oil [1]. Biomass adsorbs CO2 from the capacity [4].
atmosphere during photosynthesis, and the CO2 is then The ASPEN PLUS process simulator has been used by
returned to the environment after combustion. Because of this different investigators to simulate coal conversion; examples
cycle, biomass is CO2 neutral, making it an advantageous fuel include methanol synthesis [5,6], indirect coal liquefaction
source and a dominant choice for replacement of fossil fuels as processes [7], integrated coal gasification combined cycle
the concern of global warming increases. Biomass materials (IGCC) power plants [8], atmospheric fluidized bed combustor
known as potential sources of energy are agricultural residues processes [9], compartmented fluidized bed coal gasifiers [10],
such as straw, bagasse, and husk and residues from forest- coal hydrogasification processes [11], and coal gasification
related industries such as wood chips, sawdust, and bark [2,3]. simulation [12]. However, the work that has been done on
Fluidized bed gasifiers are advantageous for transforming biomass gasification is limited. Mansaray et al. [13] used
biomass, particularly agricultural residues, into energy. ASPEN PLUS to simulate rice husk gasification based on

Corresponding author at: Environmental Systems Engineering, University of Regina, 3737 Wascana Parkway, Regina, Saskatchewan,
Canada S4S 0A2. Tel.: +1 306 558 4490; fax: +1 306 585 4855.
E-mail address: (N. Mahinpey).
0961-9534/$ - see front matter & 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1246 BIOMASS AND BIOENERGY 32 (2008) 1245 – 1254

Nomenclature z distance above the surface of the bed (m)

a decay constant of clusters in freeboard (m1) Greek letters

Ar Archimedes number
dp particle diameter (m) a kinetics parameter
E activation energy (kcal/mol) b kinetics parameter
g gravitational acceleration (m/s2) eb volume fraction of bed occupied by bubble
k rate constant (s1 atm1) ef average voidage of bed
MC molecular weight of carbon (kg/kmol) efb average voidage of freeboard
N total number of data points emf voidage in emulsion at minimum fluidization
P pressure (bar) es volume fraction of solid in bed
R universal gas constant (kcal/mol K) ZC carbon conversion efficiency
rC reaction rate of carbon (kmol/m3 s) rC density of carbon (kg/m3)
T temperature (K) rg density of gas (kg/m3)
t time (s) rs density of solid (kg/m3)
u superficial velocity (m/s) m viscosity (kg/m s)
umf minimum fluidization velocity (m/s)
XCO carbon conversion due to combustion Subscripts
XSG carbon conversion due to steam gasification
YC volume fraction of carbon in solid e experimental
yi mole fraction of i p predicted

material balance, energy balance, and chemical equi- 2.1. Assumptions

librium relations. Because of the high amount of volatile
material in biomass and the complexity of biomass The following assumptions were considered in modeling the
reaction rate kinetics in fluidized beds, they ignored the char gasification process:
gasification and simulated the gasification process by the
assumption that biomass gasification follows Gibbs equili-  Process is steady state and isothermal
brium.  Biomass devolatilization takes place instantaneously and
In a typical atmospheric fluidized bed gasifier, feed, volatile products mainly consist of H2, CO, CO2, CH4, and
together with bed material, are fluidized by the gasifying H2O [4,14–16]
agents, such as air and/or steam, entering at the bottom of  All the gases are uniformly distributed within the emul-
the bed. The product gas resulting from the gasification sion phase
process is fed to a gas–solid separator (i.e., cyclone) to  Particles are spherical and of uniform size and the average
separate solid particles carried by exhaust gas. diameter remains constant during the gasification, based
The objective of this study is to develop simulation capable on the shrinking core model
of predicting the steady-state performance of an atmospheric  Char only contains carbon and ash
fluidized bed gasifier by considering the hydrodynamic and  Char gasification starts in the bed and completes in the
reaction rate kinetics simultaneously. The products of homo- freeboard.
geneous reactions are defined by Gibbs equilibrium, and
reaction rate kinetics are used to determine the products of
char gasification. A drawback in using ASPEN PLUS is the lack 2.2. Reaction kinetics
of a library model to simulate fluidized bed unit operation.
However, it is possible for users to input their own models, The gasification process begins with pyrolysis and continues
using FORTRAN codes nested within the ASPEN PLUS input with combustion and steam gasification, wherein the follow-
file, to simulate operation of a fluidized bed. This paper ing reactions occur:
presents the details of the modeling approaches taken to Combustion reaction [17]:
obtain a process simulation program for biomass gasification
C þ aO2 ! 2ð1  aÞCO þ ð2a  1ÞCO2 (1)
in a fluidized bed reactor.
Steam-gasification reactions [18]:

C þ H2 O ! CO þ H2 (2)

2. Modeling approach CO þ H2 O ! CO2 þ H2 (3)

Because of the influence of hydrodynamic parameters on C þ 2H2 O ! CO2 þ 2H2 (4)

biomass gasification in fluidized beds, both hydrodynamic
and reaction kinetics must be treated simultaneously. C þ bH2 O ! ðb  1ÞCO2 þ ð2  bÞCO þ bH2 (5)
BIOMASS AND BIOENERGY 32 (2008) 1245 – 1254 1247

Here, a is a mechanism factor [19] that changes, in the 2.3.1. Bed hydrodynamics
range of 0.5–1, when CO or CO2, is carried away from the char Kunii and Levenspil [24] introduced the following equation to
particle during char combustion. The factor, a, is a function of calculate the minimum fluidization velocity for fine particles:
the temperature and average diameter of the char particles. 33:7m pffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi

In reaction (5), (2b)/b represents the fraction of the steam umf ¼ ð 1 þ 3:59  105 Ar  1Þ (9)
rg dp
consumed by reaction (2) and 2(b1)/b represents the fraction
of steam consumed by reaction (4). Matsui et al. [18] d3p rg ðrs  rg Þg
experimentally determined b to be in the range of 1.1–1.5 at Ar ¼ (10)
750–900 1C. For the proposed model, the values of a and b
The following correlations, developed by Babu et al. [25,26],
equal 0.9 and 1.4, respectively, and show the best agreement
are used to determine the volume fraction occupied by
with experimental data.
bubbles in a fluidized bed
Lee et al. [17] defines the reaction rate equations for the
mentioned reactions as follows: 10:978ðu  umf Þ0:738 r0:376
s d1:006
  B ¼ 1:0 þ (11)
dXCO ECO n u0:937
¼ kCO exp PO ð1  XCO Þ2=3 (6)
dt RT 2
b ¼ 1  1=B (12)
¼ kSG exp PH O ð1  XSG Þ2=3 (7) where u the superficial gas velocity, is not a constant
dt RT 2
parameter, due to the gas production resulting from
dXCO dXSG r s Y C homogeneous and heterogeneous reactions. Yan et al. [26]
rC ¼ þ  C (8)
dt dt MC demonstrated the importance of considering varying
gas velocity in obtaining results with higher precision in
Previous studies [20,21] considered parameter n to be equal
to 1.0 in Eqs. (6) and (7). For the steam-gasification reaction,
The bed void fraction [24] is then given by the following:
some studies [22,23] reported different numbers for n, but it is
actually 1.0 in the steam partial pressure range of f ¼ b þ ð1  b Þmf
0.25–0.8 atm. Kinetic parameters can be found in Table 1. mf ¼ 0:4 (13)

2.3. Hydrodynamic assumptions

2.3.2. Freeboard hydrodynamics
According to Lewis et al. [27] the volume fraction of solids at
The following assumptions were made in simulating the
various levels z in the freeboard falls off exponentially from
the value at the bed surface, or

 Fluidized bed reactor is divided into two regions: bed and 1  fb ¼ ð1  f Þ expðazÞ (14)
freeboard Kunii and Levenspiel [24] prepared a graph from reported
 The fluidization state in the bed is maintained in the data that correlates the constant a with particle size and
bubbling regime superficial gas velocity. This graph can be used in the
 The volume fraction of solids decreases as height in- following range:
creases, corresponding to the coalescence of bubbles in
u p 1:25 m=s
the bed and the returning of solid particles to the bed in
the TDH zone dp p 800 mm
 Volumetric flow rate of gas increases along with height,
The constant a for this simulation has been found from the
corresponding to the production of gaseous products
graph as follows:
 The mixing of solid particles, consisting of ash, char
particles, and bed material, is perfect 1:8
a¼ . (15)
 The reactor is divided into a finite number of equal u
elements with constant hydrodynamic parameters
 The fluidized bed is one-dimensional; any variations in 2.4. ASPEN PLUS model
conditions are considered to occur only in the axial
direction. The different stages considered in ASPEN PLUS simulation, in
order to show the overall gasification process, are decom-
position of the feed, volatile reactions, char gasification, and
gas–solid separation.

Table 1 – Kinetic parameters 2.4.1. Biomass decomposition

The ASPEN PLUS yield reactor, RYIELD, was used to simulate
E/R (K) k (s1 atm1) the decomposition of the feed. In this step, biomass is
converted into its constituting components including
Combustion 13,523 0.046
carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, sulfur, nitrogen, and ash, by
Steam gasification 19,544 6474.7
specifying the yield distribution according to the biomass
ultimate analysis.
1248 BIOMASS AND BIOENERGY 32 (2008) 1245 – 1254

2.4.2. Volatile reactions

The ASPEN PLUS Gibbs reactor, RGIBBS, was used for volatile
combustion, in conformity with the assumption that volatile
reactions follow the Gibbs equilibrium. Biomass consists of
mainly C, H, N, O, S, Cl, ash, and moisture. Carbon will partly
constitute the gas phase, which takes part in devolatilization,
and the remaining carbon comprises part of the solid phase
(char) and subsequently results in char gasification.
A SEPARATION COLUMN model was used before the RGIBBS
reactor to separate the volatile materials and solids in order to
perform the volatile reactions. Within the ASPEN PLUS
environment, the separation column is the most appropriate
unit operation to achieve this goal. The amount of volatile
material can be specified from the biomass approximate
analysis. Also considering the assumption that char contains
only carbon and ash, the amount of carbon in the volatile
portion can be calculated by deducting the total amount of
carbon in char from the total carbon in biomass.

2.4.3. Char gasification

The ASPEN PLUS CSTR reactor, RCSTR, performs char Fig. 1 – Comprehensive simulation diagram for the fluidized
gasification by using reaction kinetics, as mentioned pre- bed gasification process.
viously, written as an external FORTRAN code. The hydro-
dynamic parameters divide the reactor into two regions, bed
Table 3 – Characteristics of pine sawdust
and freeboard, and each region is simulated by one RCSTR.
Using FORTRAN code, each RCSTR is divided into a series of
CSTR reactors with equal volume. The hydrodynamic and Moisture content (wt%) 8
Proximate analysis (wt% dry basis)
kinetic parameters, such as superficial velocity, voidage, and
Volatile matter 82.29
fractional pressure of oxygen and steam, are constant in
Fixed carbon 17.16
these small reactors. The number of the elemental reactors Ash 0.55
depends on the residence time, the reactor dimensions, and
Ultimate analysis (wt% dry basis)
the operational conditions wherein the mentioned para-
C 50.54
meters can be considered constant.
H 7.08
A description of the ASPEN PLUS reactor blocks and O 41.11
simulation diagram are given in Table 2 and Fig. 1, respec- N 0.15
tively. S 0.57

Average particle size (mm) 0.25–0.75

Char density (kg/m3) 1300
Table 2 – Reactor blocks description utilized in the Flow rate (kg/h) 0.445–0.512
simulation [28]

Reactor Description
block 3. Model validation
RYIELD Models a reactor by specifying reaction yields of
In order to validate the simulation results, experimental data
each component. This model is useful when
reaction stoichiometry and kinetics are unknown from gasification of pine in a lab-scale fluidized bed gasifier
and yield distribution data or correlations are was used; details of the setup can be found elsewhere [14].
available Tables 3 and 4 show feed material and reactor characteristics
used in the simulation.
RGIBBS Models single-phase chemical equilibrium, or
simultaneous phase and chemical equilibrium by Lv et al. [14] studied the influence of temperature,
minimizing Gibbs free energy, subject to atom equivalence ratio (ER), steam-to-biomass ratio, and biomass
balance constraints. This model is useful when average particle size on gas composition and carbon conver-
temperature and pressure are known and reaction sion efficiency. They considered four main gases (i.e. H2, CO,
stoichiometry is unknown CO2, CH4) to study gas production.
RCSTR Models a continuous-stirred tank reactor. This Equivalence ratio and carbon conversion efficiency are
model is useful when reaction kinetics is known. defined, respectively, as follows:
This model is useful when solids, such as char, are
participating in the reactions
Weight oxygen ðairÞ=weight dry biomass
ER ¼ (16)
Stoichiometric oxygen ðairÞ=biomass ratio
BIOMASS AND BIOENERGY 32 (2008) 1245 – 1254 1249

Total rate of carbon in the outlet stream temperatures higher than 800 1C. Simulation results for
ZC ¼ 1  (17)
Total rate of carbon in the feed stream carbon monoxide in Fig. 3 display good qualitative prediction
Simulation results were compared with all sets of experi- of experimental data in the whole range, and carbon dioxide
mental data. The sum squared deviation method was used to production is underestimated in Fig. 4. Also, simulation
estimate the accuracy of simulation results [29]. results in Fig. 5 show good accuracy for methane production.
N y  y 2 Gases with a CnHm formula are the result of non-equili-
X ie ip
RSS ¼ (18) brium processes. Thus, because of the assumption in this
study that homogeneous reactions follow Gibbs equilibrium,
RSS methane is the only possible hydrocarbon in the gasification
MRSS ¼ (19) products.
Mean error ¼ MRSS (20)
The analysis of data for product gases is shown in Table 5.
Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide show the lowest and
highest error, respectively, in all sets of experiments.

3.1. Effect of temperature

3.1.1. Gas composition

Figs. 2–5 show the simulation results compared with experi-
mental data for product gas composition versus five different
temperatures in the range of 700–900 1C.
Fig. 2 shows better agreement between simulation predic-
tion and experimental data for hydrogen production in the

Table 4 – Experimental setup parameters used in the Fig. 2 – Effect of temperature on hydrogen. Biomass feed
simulation rate: 0.445 kg/h; air: 0.5 N m3/h; steam rate: 1.2 kg/h.

Fluidized bed reactor

Temperature (1C) 700–900
Pressure (bar) 1.05
Bed diameter (mm) 40
Freeboard diameter (mm) 60
Height (mm) 1400

Temperature (1C) 65
Flow rate (N m3/h) 0.5–0.7

Temperature (1C) 145
Flow rate (kg/h) 0–1.8

Bed material
Silica sand
Average particle size (mm) 0.275
Weight (g) 30 Fig. 3 – Effect of temperature on carbon monoxide. Biomass
feed rate: 0.445 kg/h; air: 0.5 N m3/h; steam rate: 1.2 kg/h.

Table 5 – Analysis of data

Mean error


Gas composition versus temperature 0.36057 0.10442 0.3009 0.21523

Gas composition versus ER 0.19811 0.0939 0.23079 0.19974
Gas composition versus particle size 0.1847 0.0868 0.2038 0.1632
Gas composition versus S/B ratio 0.2045 0.1143 0.2382 0.2712
1250 BIOMASS AND BIOENERGY 32 (2008) 1245 – 1254

Fig. 4 – Effect of temperature on carbon dioxide. Biomass Fig. 6 – Effect of temperature on carbon conversion
feed rate: 0.445 kg/h; air: 0.5 N m3/h; steam rate: 1.2 kg/h. efficiency. Biomass feed rate: 0.445 kg/h; air: 0.5 N m3/h;
steam rate: 1.2 kg/h.

Fig. 5 – Effect of temperature on methane. Biomass feed rate:

0.445 kg/h; air: 0.5 N m3/h; steam rate: 1.2 kg/h.
Fig. 7 – Effect of ER on hydrogen. Biomass feed rate:
0.512 kg/h; temperature: 800 1C; steam rate: 0.8 kg/h.

Biomass produces more tar and unburned hydrocarbon in

lower temperatures, which decreases hydrogen production.
The error related to the prediction of hydrogen, especially in The high accuracy of the simulation results is depicted in
lower temperatures, is the result of ignoring tar production in Fig. 6.
the simulation, as shown in Fig. 2. Corresponding to reaction
(5) in Fig. 3, the higher amount of hydrogen favors the 3.2. Effect of equivalence ratio (ER)
backward reaction and causes prediction of lower carbon
dioxide production in simulation. Also, the backward reaction 3.2.1. Gas composition
(5) dominates the prediction of carbon monoxide, and it Simulation results and experimental data for gas composition
shows slight underestimation in temperatures lower than versus five different equivalence ratios in the range of
800 1C. 0.19–0.27 are shown in Figs. 7–10.
The equilibrium assumption substitutes the methane for all The equivalence ratio shows two opposing effects on the
other possible hydrocarbons. An amount of less than 10% gasification process. Increasing the amount of air favors
methane in product gas results in a negligible difference gasification by increasing the temperature but, at the same
between experimental and simulation results, as observed in time, produces more carbon dioxide [14]. Gasification with a
Fig. 5. better level of efficiency produces more carbon monoxide and
less carbon dioxide. Thus, the trends in Figs. 8 and 9 show
3.1.2. Carbon conversion efficiency domination of the each opposing effects for ER of less and
Fig. 6 shows the comparison of the simulation results with more than 0.23, respectively.
the experimental data for carbon conversion efficiency versus
temperature in the range of 700–900 1C. Higher temperature 3.2.2. Carbon conversion efficiency
improves the gasification process and increases the carbon Fig. 11 shows the predicted results from simulation and
conversion. Increasing trends of carbon conversion efficiency measured data from experiments for carbon conversion
can be seen for both simulation and experimental results. efficiency in five different ER in the range of 0.19–0.27.
BIOMASS AND BIOENERGY 32 (2008) 1245 – 1254 1251

Fig. 11 – Effect of ER on carbon conversion efficiency.

Fig. 8 – Effect of ER on carbon monoxide. Biomass feed rate:
Biomass feed rate: 0.512 kg/h; temperature: 800 1C; steam
0.512 kg/h; temperature: 800 1C; steam rate: 0.8 kg/h.
rate: 0.8 kg/h.

Fig. 9 – Effect of ER on carbon dioxide. Biomass feed rate: Fig. 12 – Effect of steam-to-biomass ratio on hydrogen.
0.512 kg/h; temperature: 800 1C; steam rate: 0.8 kg/h. Biomass feed rate: 0.445 kg/h; temperature: 800 1C, air:
0.5 N m3/h.

Based on the oxidation reactions, Eqs. (21) and (22), carbon

monoxide production consumes more carbon for the same
amount of oxygen. Therefore, for ER of less than the optimum
point, equal to 0.23, the increasing trend of carbon monoxide
increases the carbon conversion efficiency, and it is the
reverse for ER of greater than the optimum point.
The constant amount of kinetic parameters, a and b, does
not reflect the change of proportion between carbon mon-
oxide and carbon dioxide in the product gas, and as a result,
simulation predicts the increasing trend for carbon conver-
sion efficiency in the whole range.

Fig. 10 – Effect of ER on methane. Biomass feed rate:

0.512 kg/h; temperature: 800 1C; steam rate: 0.8 kg/h. 3.3. Effect of steam-to-biomass ratio (S/B)

3.3.1. Gas composition

Comparisons of simulation predictions with experimental
The oxidation reaction for carbon monoxide production is results of gas composition versus steam-to-biomass ratio in
five points in the range of 0–4 are shown in Figs. 12–15.
C þ 12O2 ! CO: (21)
Introducing low-temperature steam to the gasification
The oxidation reaction for carbon dioxide production is process reduces the temperature of the process and increases
the amount of tar. Simulation (Fig. 12) predicts the percentage
C þ O2 ! CO2 (22) of hydrogen in product gas with the best precision for
1252 BIOMASS AND BIOENERGY 32 (2008) 1245 – 1254

ture resulting from the entering steam is ignored. Also,

overestimation of the amount of methane is caused when
there is no steam in the process, as is shown in Fig. 15.

3.3.2. Carbon conversion efficiency

As shown in Fig. 16, carbon conversion efficiency decreases
over the S/B range from 0 to 4, which can be explained by the
excess amount of low-temperature steam in the gasification

3.4. Effect of biomass particle size

3.4.1. Gas composition

Figs. 17–20 show the results of the simulation compared with
Fig. 13 – Effect of steam-to-biomass ratio on carbon
experimental data for gas composition versus four biomass
monoxide. Biomass feed rate: 0.445 kg/h; temperature:
average particle diameters in the range of 0.25–0.75 mm.
800 1C, air: 0.5 N m3/h.
Simulation shows good agreement with experimental data,
especially in the qualitative view, regarding the production of
hydrogen and carbon dioxide, as can be seen in Figs. 17 and
19. Fig. 18 demonstrates very good prediction of the percen-
tage of carbon monoxide compared with the experimental

Fig. 14 – Effect of steam-to-biomass ratio on carbon dioxide.

Biomass feed rate: 0.445 kg/h; temperature: 800 1C, air:
0.5 N m3/h.

Fig. 16 – Effect of steam-to-biomass ratio on carbon

conversion efficiency. Biomass feed rate: 0.445 kg/h;
temperature: 800 1C, air: 0.5 N m3/h.

Fig. 15 – Effect of steam-to-biomass ratio on methane.

Biomass feed rate: 0.445 kg/h; temperature: 800 1C, air:
0.5 N m3/h.

gasification without steam because of the low amount of tar

in the process. As seen in Figs. 13 and 14, a higher flow rate of
steam decreases carbon monoxide and increases carbon Fig. 17 – Effect of biomass particle size on hydrogen.
dioxide in the product gas. However, simulation cannot Biomass feed rate: 0.512 kg/h; temperature: 800 1C, air:
predict the real trends because the effect of varying tempera- 0.6 N m3/h.
BIOMASS AND BIOENERGY 32 (2008) 1245 – 1254 1253

3.4.2. Carbon conversion efficiency

Based on the hydrodynamic model used in this simulation,
larger biomass particle size results in a higher volume
fraction of solid that improves the carbon conversion
efficiency in the range of 0.25–0.75 mm. This is the reason
for the increasing trend of simulation results for carbon
conversion versus particle size in Fig. 21. However, the
decreasing trend of carbon conversion efficiency in experi-
mental data is due to the higher mass transfer resistance for
larger particles in real processes.

4. Future work

Fig. 18 – Effect of biomass particle size on carbon monoxide. Good qualitative agreement between model prediction and
Biomass feed rate: 0.512 kg/h; temperature: 800 1C, air: experimental data was achieved. However, to improve the
0.6 N m3/h. simulation results, some modifications should be considered.
The present paper intended to present the simulation results
of parametric study of the effects of temperature, equivalence
ratio, steam-to-biomass ratio, and particle size on gas compo-
sition (i.e., H2, CO, CO2, and CH4) and carbon conversion. Tar
formation will improve the predicted results in the simulation.
Detailed experimental data about the influence of operating
conditions on the formation of tar along with the kinetics
studies is needed to obtain a thorough evaluation. The
chemical formula of tar is CxHyOz. The parameters (x, y, z)
are temperature and heating rate dependent. Such study is
being carried out in our lab and results will be communicated
very soon. Once these results are analyzed, the tar production
can be implemented in the current model by defining non-
equilibrium products in the RGIBBS reactor.
Mass transfer inside solid particles is an important para-
meter in gas–solid reactions, and heat transfer inside
Fig. 19 – Effect of biomass particle size on carbon dioxide. particles, between phases, and between material and wall is
Biomass feed rate: 0.512 kg/h; temperature: 800 1C, air: another feature that should be included in order to achieve
0.6 N m3/h. better simulation prediction. Radial dispersion inside the
reactor helps to see wall effects on the hydrodynamics of the
fluidized bed reactor. Additional modeling studies with more
detailed assumptions are underway, and results of such
studies will be communicated upon their completion.

Fig. 20 – Effect of biomass particle size on methane. Biomass

feed rate: 0.512 kg/h; temperature: 800 1C, air: 0.6 N m3/h.

data. For methane, in Fig. 20, there is an overestimation in

biomass with average size equal to 0.75 mm, but the simula- Fig. 21 – Effect of biomass particle size on carbon conversion
tion predicts experimental data with acceptable accuracy for efficiency. Biomass feed rate: 0.512 kg/h; temperature:
other points. 800 1C, air: 0.6 N m3/h.
1254 BIOMASS AND BIOENERGY 32 (2008) 1245 – 1254

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