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Two phase biomass airsteam gasiÿcation model for uidized
bed reactors: Part I—model development
Samy S. Sadaka
a, ∗
, A.E. Ghaly
b
, M.A. Sabbah
c
a
Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department, Iowa State University, NSRIC, Ames, IA, 50011, USA
b
Biological Engineering Department, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada, B3J.2X4
c
Desert Development Center, American University  Cairo, Cairo, Egypt
Received 29 April 1999; received in revised form 26 November 2001; accepted 16 January 2002
Abstract
A twophase model capable of predicting the performance of uidized bed biomass airsteam gasiÿcation reactor during
dynamic and steady state operations was developed based on the two phase theory of uidization. Material and energy
balances were taken into consideration and the minimization of free energy technique was used to calculate the gas mole
fractions. The uidized bed was divided into three zones (jetting, bubbling and slugging) and the mass and heat transfer
coecients were calculated for each zone in both bubble and emulsion phases. The model includes the hydrodynamics,
transport and thermodynamic properties of uidized bed. The ÿnite element method was used to solve the partial dierential
equations. The input variables of the computer program included uidization velocity, steam ow rate and biomass to steam
ratio. The model is capable of predicting the bed temperature, gas mole fractions, higher heating value and production
rate. ? 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Fluidization velocity; Airsteam; Gasiÿcation; Higher heating value; Model; Straw
1. Introduction
During the period 1991–1996, the world crop yields of sorghum, corn, rye, rice and wheat increased by
20.1%, 19.5%, 30.1%, 8.7% and 4.6%, respectively. Crop production will continue to increase to feed the
everincreasing population of the world. The current world production of cereals is about 2.0 × 10
9
metric
tones [1]. This means that about 2.34 × 10
9
ton of straw are produced annually for which the market is
becoming rather limited [2]. Ghaly et al. [3] reported that wheat crop alone yields over 750 million ton of
straw of which 60–80% can be utilized for energy through energy conversion processes such as pyrolysis,
combustion and gasiÿcation. Gasiÿcation is the process by which organic matter is converted to gas, tar and
char through thermal decomposition in a low oxygen environment, followed by secondary reactions of the
resulting volatiles [4]. The produced combustible char and tar can be burned with air to provide the necessary
energy for processing [5].
∗
Corresponding author. Tel.: +0015152944330; fax: +0015152944250.
Email address: sadaka@iastate.edu (S.S. Sadaka).
09619534/02/$  see front matter ? 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
PII: S 0961 9534( 02) 00023 5
440 S.S. Sadaka et al. / Biomass and Bioenergy 22 (2002) 439–462
Nomenclature
¸ is a weighting coecient lying between 0 and 1, Z = iZ, t = kt
o is the volume fraction of the emulsion phase (dimensionless)
c is the void fraction in the bed at minimum uidization (dimensionless)
[ is the weight of straw in the reactor (kg)
j
b
is the binary mixture density (kg m
−3
)
o
b
is the volume fraction of the bubble phase (dimensionless)
j
c
is the sand density (kg m
−3
)
j
cr
is the char density (kg m
−3
)
o
e
is the volume fraction of the emulsion phase (dimensionless)
!
0
i is the heat of formation of species i at 25
◦
C (kJ kmol
−1
)
j
g
is the density of the gas (kg m
−3
)
G!i
0
is the free energy of formation of compound i at temperature 1 (kJ kg
−1
)
H is the enthalpy of gas (kJ kmol
−1
)
H is the sensible heat of gaseous components in the bubbles (kJ kmol
−1
)
H
ie
is the sensible heat of gaseous components in the emulsion (kJ kmol
−1
)
H
0
r)
is the heat of reaction ) at 25
◦
C (kJ kmole
−1
)
H
r!
is the heat of reaction (1) at reference temperature (298.15 K) (kJ kmol
−1
)
j
ib
is the gas density in the bubble phase (kg m
−3
)
j
j
is the jet gas density (kg m
−3
)
z
k
is the reaction latent energy (kJ kg
−1
)
(k
je
)
j
is the volume interchange coecient (m
3
m
−3
(jet) s
−1
)
c
mf
is the bed voidage at minimum uidization conditions (dimensionless)
j
s
is the density of sand particles (kg m
−3
)
Z is the increment in axial direction (m)
j is the viscosity of the gas (kg m
−1
s
−1
)
ji is the viscosity (N s m
−2
)
A is the bed cross sectional area (m
2
)
a
1
!
1
are constants (dimensionless)
a
ik
is the number of atoms of kth element present in each molecule of chemical species
(dimensionless)
Ar is Archimedes number (dimensionless)
C
biomass
is the weight of carbon in the straw (kg)
C
ib
is the concentration of ith species in the bubble phase (kmol m
−3
)
C
ie
is the concentration of ith species in the emulsion phase kmol m
−3
)
C
ij
is the concentration of ith species in the jet region (kmol m
−3
)
C
i0
is the initial and inlet concentration of species i (kmol m
−3
)
C
is
is the concentration of ith species in the slugging region (kmol m
−3
)
C
rb
is the speciÿc heat of the gas mixture in bubble phase (kJ kmol K
−1
)
C
re
is the speciÿc heat of the gas mixture in emulsion phase (kJ kmol K
−1
)
C
rg
is the mean heat capacity of the gas mixture (kJ kmol
−1
K
−1
)
C
rg, j
is the heat capacity of the jet (kJ kmol
−1
K
−1
)
C
rj, i
is the heat capacity of gas i (kJ kmol
−1
K
−1
)
S.S. Sadaka et al. / Biomass and Bioenergy 22 (2002) 439–462 441
C
rs
is the particle’s speciÿc heat (kJ kg
−1
K
−1
)
C
s
is the concentration of the char (kg char kg inter solids
−1
)
d
m
is the nozzle diameter (m)
d
b
is the diameter of the binary mixture (m)
d
bm
is the maximum bubble diameter (m)
d
b0
is the initial bubble diameter (m)
d
c
is the diameter of alumina sand (m)
d
cr
is the diameter of char (m)
D
g
is the gas diusivity (m
2
s
−1
)
D
ib
is the dispersion coecient of the ith species in the bubble phase (m
2
s
−1
)
D
ie
is the dispersion coecient of the ith species in the emulsion phase (m
2
s
−1
)
D
ij
is the dispersion coecient of the ith species in the jet (m
2
s
−1
)
D
is
is the dispersion coecient of the ith species in the slugging phase (m
2
s
−1
)
d
r
is the bubble diameter (m)
d
r
is the mean particle diameter (m)
d
pi
is the mean diameter of particles related to the ith sieve in a sieve analysis (m)
d
t
is the bed diameter (m)
F is the global force vector
q is the acceleration of gravity, 9.807 (m s
−2
)
H is the bed height (m)
H
be
is the heat interchange coecient between bubbles and emulsion (kJ m
−3
s
−1
K
−1
)
HHV is the higher heating value of the gas (kJ m
−3
)
h
i
is the internal heat transfer coecient (kJ m
−2
s
−1
K
−1
)
h
j
is the heat transfer coecient between jet and emulsion phase (kJ m
−2
s
−1
K
−1
)
h
0
is the external heat transfer coecient (kJ m
−2
s
−1
K
−1
)
h
p
is the heat transfer coecient (kJ m
−2
s
−1
K
−1
)
(H
bc
)
b
is the heat interchange coecient between bubble and cloud (kJ m
−3
s
−1
K
−1
)
(H
bc
)
s
is the heat interchange coecient between slug and cloud (kJ m
−3
s
−1
K
−1
)
(H
be
)
b
is the heat interchange coecient between bubble and emulsion (kJ m
−3
s
−1
K
−1
)
(H
be
)
s
is the heat interchange coecient between slug and emulsion (kJ m
−3
s
−1
K
−1
)
(H
ce
)
b
is the heat interchange coecient between cloud and emulsion (kJ m
−3
s
−1
K
−1
)
(H
ce
)
s
is the heat interchange coecient between cloud and emulsion (kJ m
−3
s
−1
K
−1
)
(H
je
)
j
is the heat interchange coecient (kJ m
−3
(jet) s
−1
K
−1
)
K is the global stiness matrix
K
be
is the volume interchange coecient between bubble and emulsion (m
3
m
−3
(bubble) s
−1
)
k
g
is the thermal conductivity of the gas mixture (kJ m
−1
s
−1
K
−1
)
K
gi
is the gas thermal conductivity (MW m
−1
K
−1
)
k
j
is the mass transfer coecient between jet and emulsion phase (kg m
−2
s
−1
)
K
je
is the gas interchange coecient between jet and emulsion phases (s
−1
)
K
se
is the gas interchange coecient between the slugs and emulsion phase (s
−1
)
L
j
is the jet penetration depth (m)
L
sb
is the height at which transition from bubbling to slugging occurs (m)
!
sb
is the height at which transition from bubbling to slugging occurs (m)
m is the bed material mass (kg)
442 S.S. Sadaka et al. / Biomass and Bioenergy 22 (2002) 439–462
M
g, j
is the average molecular weight of the jet (kg kmol
−1
)
n is the sieve number (dimensionless)
n
C
is the number of moles of carbon in straw (dimensionless)
n
CH
4
is the number of moles of methane (dimensionless)
n
CO
is the number of moles of CO (dimensionless)
n
CO
2
is the number of moles of CO
2
(dimensionless)
n
d
is the number of nozzles (dimensionless)
n
H
is the number of moles of hydrogen in straw (dimensionless)
n
H
2
is the number of moles of hydrogen (dimensionless)
n
H
2
O
is the number of moles of H
2
O (dimensionless)
n
N
2
is the number of moles of N
2
(dimensionless)
n
O
is the number of moles of O
2
in straw (dimensionless)
n
O
2
is the number of moles of O
2
(dimensionless)
n
tot
is the total number of moles (dimensionless)
Nu is Nusselt’s number (dimensionless)
P is the component partial pressure (kPa)
Pr is Prandetl’s number (dimensionless)
R is the universal gas constant (8.314 kJ kmol
−1
K
−1
)
Re is Reynold’s number (dimensionless)
r
i
is the internal radius of the bed (m)
R
ib
is the rate of generation of ith species in the bubble phase (kmol m
−3
)
R
ie
is the rate of generation of ith species in the emulsion phase (kmol s
−1
m
−3
)
R
ij
is the rate of generation of ith species in the jet (kmol m
−3
)
r
is
is the rate of generation of ith species in the bubble phase (kg m
−3
s
−1
)
R
is
is the rate of generation of ith species in the slugging region (kmol s
−1
m
−3
)
R
l
is the rate of reaction (kmol s
−1
m
−1
)
r
0
is the external radius of the bed (m)
RR is the vector of residual equations
R
s
is the rate of generation of ith species in the bubble phase (kg s
−1
)
R
s
is the fraction of carbon in the biomass converted into char (dimensionless)
t is the time (s)
1 is the temperature (K)
TAR
y
is the tar yield weight (%)
1
b
is the bubble temperature (K)
1
gi
is the inlet gas temperature (K)
1
i0
is the initial and inlet temperature of species i (kmol m
−3
)
1
r
is the reference temperature (298.15 K)
1
s
is the initial bed temperature (K)
1
s
is the solid’s temperature (K)
U is the inlet gas velocity (m s
−1
)
U
m
is the jet nozzle velocity (m s
−1
)
U
b
is the rising velocity (m s
−1
)
U
j
is the jet rising velocity (m s
−1
)
U
mf
is the minimum uidization velocity of straw (m s
−1
)
U
s
is the slugging rising velocity at (m s
−1
)
S.S. Sadaka et al. / Biomass and Bioenergy 22 (2002) 439–462 443
J
ij
is the stoichiometric coecient of species i in reaction ), positive for product
W
is the particle’ s weight per control volume (kg m
−3
)
W
in
is the rate of char inlet to the reactor (kg s
−1
)
W
out
is the rate of char exiting from reactor (kg s
−1
)
x
i
is the weight fraction of particles retained on the ith sieve (dimensionless)
+
i
is the mole fraction of component (number of moles of itotal number of moles)
+
i
is the mole fraction of the gases (dimensionless)
Z is the axial distance from the distributor (m)
Fluidized bed gasiÿers have been used for converting agricultural wastes into energy. The advantages of
uidized bed reactors include: good gas solids contact, excellent heat transfer characteristics, better temper
ature control, large heat storage capacity, good degree of turbulence and high volumetric capacity. Several
researchers studied the eects of operating and design parameters on the performance of uidized bed gasi
ÿers theoretically [6–12]. The existing uidized bed gasiÿcation models can be classiÿed as thermodynamic
models, ow regime models and transient models. However, most of these gasiÿcation models were reported
for coal gasiÿcation and those dealing with biomass gasiÿcation did not include the hydrodynamic parameters
which aect both the mass and heat interchange coecients between the bubble and emulsion phases [13].
Howard et al. [14] applied gasiÿcation modeling by focusing on the liquid production. In their model, they
did not include the hydrodynamics of the uidized bed. Five kinetic parameters (water gas reaction, carbon
oxidation reaction, methane formation reaction, water gas shift reaction and methanation reaction) involving
in developing the model were evaluated by ÿtting the model to the experimental data obtained. The model
predicted the oil and did not predict the gas composition. Furthermore, the variations of the assumptions of
gasiÿcation models are numerous and even contradicting. This makes the evaluation of these models very di
cult with limited experimental data. Very few attempts were found in the literature to simulate a selfsustained
gasiÿcation process and that includes the hydrodynamic, transport and thermodynamic properties.
2. Objectives
The aim of this study was to develop a comprehensive twophase dynamic ÿnite element model capable of
describing the uidized bed biomass gasiÿcation phenomenon. The model must be capable of predicting the
temperature distribution in the vertical direction of the bed, the concentration and distribution of each species
in the vertical direction of the bed in both the bubble and emulsion phases, the composition of the produced
gas, the heating value of the produced gas and the produced gas production rate.
3. Model development
3.1. Discretization of the Fluidized bed gasiÿer
The proposed gasiÿcation dynamic model represents two stages: instantaneous devolatilization of straw and
combustion of the char at the bottom of the gasiÿer and the gasiÿcation in the uidized bed. Thus, a twophase
representation of the uidized bed incorporates the phenomena of jetting, bubbling, slugging and dynamic
mass and energy balances. Fig. 1 shows the uidized bed domain divided into three regions: jet, bubbles and
slugs. The following assumptions were made regarding to the gas ow divisions and the ow patterns of gas
444 S.S. Sadaka et al. / Biomass and Bioenergy 22 (2002) 439–462
Fig. 1. The uidized bed gasiÿer zones.
and solids:
(a) the uidized bed consists of a dilute phase (jets, bubbles andor slugs) and an emulsion phase,
(b) the emulsion phase is divided into an interstitial gas phase and a solid phase [15,16],
(c) mass and heat exchange take place between the dilute phase and interstitial gas and between the interstitial
gas and the solids,
(d) the uidizing gas enters the bed through nozzles in a jet form. The jets degenerate into bubbles, which
rise through the bed and grow by coalescence with other bubbles to form slugs,
(e) slugging occurs if the bubble diameter becomes larger than one third of the reactor diameter, (Slugging
occurs in improper uidization [17])
(f) the dilute gas and the interstitial gas are in plug ow and the dilute gas is free of solids,
(g) the gas behaves ideally, and
(h) the produced gas consist of CO, CO
2
, H
2
, H
2
O, CH
4
and N
2
.
3.2. Mass balance
A control volume (J = AZ) is ÿxed in space in the uidized bed gasiÿer as shown in Fig. 2.
A mixture of i and other gases is owing within the element (J). The species i may be produced
by a chemical reaction at a rate R. A mass balance can, therefore, be written in the following
S.S. Sadaka et al. / Biomass and Bioenergy 22 (2002) 439–462 445
Fig. 2. A control volume in the uidized bed.
equation:
rate of mass
accumulation
of species i
¸
¸
=
net rate
of mass
of species i
by gas ow
¸
¸
¸
¸
+
net rate
of mass
of species i
by dispersion
¸
¸
¸
¸
+
net rate of mass
exchange of species
i between bubble
and emulsion
¸
¸
¸
¸
+
rate of mass
generation
of species i
by reaction
¸
¸
¸
¸
.
(1)
The rate of mass accumulation of species i (change of concentration) can be calculated in the control
volume in the bubble phase as follows:
cj
ib
ct
AZ. (2)
The input of species i by the gas ow across the face at the axial distance Z can be described as follows:
A(j
ib
U
b
)
Z

Z
. (3)
The output of species i by the gas ow across the face at the axial distance Z + Z can be described as
follows:
A(j
ib
U
b
)
Z

Z+Z
. (4)
446 S.S. Sadaka et al. / Biomass and Bioenergy 22 (2002) 439–462
The input of species i by dispersion across the face at the axial distance Z can be described as follows:
D
ib
A
cj
ib
cZ
Z
. (5)
The output of species i by dispersion across the face at the axial distance Z + Z can be described as
follows:
D
ib
A
cj
ib
cZ
Z+Z
. (6)
The rate of gas interchange between bubble and emulsion phases can be described as follows:
K
be
(j
ib
−j
ie
)AZ. (7)
The rate of production of species i by chemical reaction can be described as follows:
r
ib
AZ. (8)
By substituting each term (2)–(8) into Eq. (1), dividing by A. Z and the number of moleskg and then
taking the limits at Z →0, the following equation can be obtained:
cC
ib
ct
= D
ib
c
2
C
ib
cZ
2
−
c
cZ
(C
ib
U
b
) + K
be
(C
ib
−C
ie
) + R
ib
. (9)
Fitzgerald [18] reported on his twophase model of uidization processes that a uidized bed consists of a
continuous phase (emulsion phase) where particles are uniformly distributed in a supporting gas stream and
a discontinuous phase (dilute phase) consisting of gases only (no particles) in the form of bubbles, channels
and slugs. Flow and density within the emulsion phase are independently of superÿcial gas velocity.
Eq. (9) is valid for the three zones and can be rewritten for the jet region as follows:
cC
ij
ct
= D
ij
c
2
C
ij
cZ
2
−
c
cZ
(C
ij
U
j
) + K
je
(C
ij
−C
ie
) + R
ij
. (10)
Similarly, the mass balance equation for the slugging region can be written as follows:
cC
is
ct
= D
is
c
2
C
is
cZ
2
−
c
cZ
(C
is
U
s
) + K
se
(C
is
−C
ie
) + R
is
. (11)
The bubble and emulsion phases assumed to be separated according to the twophase theory of uidization.
Therefore, the mass balance for the gas in the emulsion phase can be written as follows [8]:
c
cC
ie
ct
= D
ie
c
2
C
ie
cZ
2
−
U
e
o
e
cC
ie
cZ
+
o
b
K
be
o
e
(C
ib
U
b
) + K
be
(C
ib
−C
ie
) + R
ie
. (12)
Eq. (12) has the same form in the jet, bubble and slugging regions. However, the only factor that changes
in these three regions is the gas interchange coecient value K
je
, K
be
and K
se
in the jet, bubbling and slugging
regions, respectively.
By using the same technique, the mass balance equation for the char can be written as follows:
[
cC
s
ct
= W
in
−W
out
+ R
s
. (13)
S.S. Sadaka et al. / Biomass and Bioenergy 22 (2002) 439–462 447
3.2.1. The initial conditions
The initial conditions are as follows:
C
ij
= C
i0
C
ib
= C
i0
C
is
= C
i0
C
ie
= C
i0
C
s
= 0
at t = 0 and 0 6Z 6H. (14)
3.2.2. The boundary conditions
The boundary conditions are as follows:
C
ib
−D
ib
cC
ib
cZ
= C
i0
C
ie
−D
ib
cC
ie
cZ
= C
i0
at Z = 0 and t ¿0, (15)
C
ib
= C
ij
at Z = L
j
and t 0, (16)
C
is
= C
ib
at Z = L
sb
and t 0, (17)
cC
ib
cZ
= 0
cC
ie
cZ
= 0
at Z = H and t 0. (18)
The ÿve species (CO
2
, CO, H
2
O, H
2
and CH
4
) as well as the char were considered.
3.3. Energy balance
Energy balance was performed in the bubbling, emulsion and particle phases for each individual element
on the basis of material balance of the gas and solids.
3.3.1. The bubble phase
By taking the same control volume (Fig. 2) with the, the energy balance equation in the bubble phase can
be written as follows [10]:
rate of heat
accumulation
in the bubble
phase
¸
¸
¸
¸
=
heat input by
gas ow
in the bubble
phase
¸
¸
¸
¸
−
heat output
by gas ow
in the bubble
phase
¸
¸
¸
¸
+
net heat exchange
between the
bubble and the
emulsion
¸
¸
¸
¸
±
heat generated
by reactions
in the bubble
phase
¸
¸
¸
¸
.
(19)
The heat accumulation in bubble phase in the control volume can be described as follows.
AZ
7
¸
i=1
c(C
ib
C
rb
1
b
)
ct
. (20)
448 S.S. Sadaka et al. / Biomass and Bioenergy 22 (2002) 439–462
The heat input by gas ow can be calculated as follows:
AU
b
7
¸
i=1
C
ib
H
Z
. (21)
The heat output by gas ow can be calculated as follows:
AU
b
7
¸
i=1
C
ib
H
Z+Z
. (22)
The heat exchange between bubbles and emulsion phases can be described as follows:
oAZ(H
be
)(1
e
−1
b
). (23)
The heat generated by chemical reaction can be characterized as follows:
oAZ(R
l
H
r!
). (24)
The entire total energy balance in the bubble phase within the control volume can be written by substituting
each term (20)–(24) in Eq. (19), dividing by AZ and taking the limits at Z →0 as follows:
cC
ib
C
rb
1
b
ct
=
c
cZ
7
¸
i=1
(U
b
C
ib
H
ib
) + oH
be
(1
e
−1
b
) + oR
l
H
r!
. (25)
3.3.2. The interstitial gas phase
The same technique was used to describe the energy balance in the interstitial gas as follows:
rate of heat
accumulation
in emulsion phase
¸
¸
=
heat input
by gas ow
in emulsion phase
¸
¸
−
heat output
by gas ow
in emulsion phase
¸
¸
+
net heat exchange
between bubble and
emulsion in
control volume
¸
¸
¸
¸
+
heat exchange
between solid and gas
in emulsion phase
¸
¸
±
heat generated
by reactions
in emulsion phase
¸
¸
. (26)
The total energy balance in the control volume in the interstitial gas can be described by substituting each
term in Eq. (26), dividing by AZ and taking the limits at Z →0 as follows:
c
ct
(C
ie
C
re
1
e
) =
c
cZ
7
¸
i=1
(U
e
C
ie
H
ie
) + (1 −o)(H
be
)(1
b
−1
e
)
+(1 −o)(1 −e
mf
)a
s
2k
g
d
p
(1
s
−1
e
) + (1 −o)
4
¸
i=1
R
l
H
0
r!
. (27)
3.3.3. The particle phase
The temperature distribution of the solids in the uidized bed was obtained by taking the energy balance
around the bed as follows:
rate of heat
accumulation
in particles
¸
¸
=
enthalpy
in by
gases
¸
¸
−
enthalpy
out by
gases
¸
¸
+
enthalpy in
by chemical
reaction
¸
¸
−
¸
heat loss
to surroundings
. (28)
S.S. Sadaka et al. / Biomass and Bioenergy 22 (2002) 439–462 449
Similarly, the energy balance of the particles can be written from Eq. (28) as follows:
c1
s
ct
=
1
W
C
rs
c
cZ
U
b
7
¸
i=1
C
ib
H
ib
+ U
e
7
¸
i=1
C
ie
H
ie
+ oR
l
H
0
r!
+(1 −o)
4
¸
i=1
R
l
H
0
r!
−
1
s
−1
e
12¬r
i
h
e
+ ln r
0
r
i
2¬r
0
l + 12¬r
0
h
0
. (29)
3.3.4. The initial conditions
The initial conditions are as follows:
1
j
= 1
i0
1
b
= 1
i0
1
s
= 1
i0
1
ie
= 1
i0
at t = 0 and 0 6Z 6H. (30)
3.3.5. Boundary conditions
The boundary conditions are as follows:
1
j
= 1
gi
1
e
= 1
gi
at Z = 0 and t ¿0, (31)
1
b
= 1
j
at Z = L
j
and t 0, (32)
1
s
= 1
b
at Z = L
sb
and t 0, (33)
c1
b
cZ
= 0
c1
e
cZ
= 0
at Z = H and t 0. (34)
3.4. Tar formation
The chemical formula for tar is CH
x
O
+
. The parameters (x, +) are temperature and heating rate dependent.
Instantaneous devolatilization of straw was visually observed by several researches in uidized bed gasiÿcation
[12,19]. Ergudenler [20] found that extracting the tar increased the quality of the results in his model. From
tar yield studies of wheat straw, Corella et al. [21] found that the best empirical equation for the tar yield is
as follows:
TAR
+
= 3598.0 EXP
−0.00291
s
. (35)
3.5. Fuel devolatilization
Devolatilization is a very complicated process and the distribution of products is particularly sensitive to the
rate of heating and the residence time in the reactor [22]. The products of pyrolysis are CO
2
, CO, H
2
O, H
2
and
450 S.S. Sadaka et al. / Biomass and Bioenergy 22 (2002) 439–462
CH
4
. The simpliÿcation of considering the reaction products to consist of only CO
2
, CO, H
2
O, H
2
and CH
4
has some experimental support from the pilot plant results [23,20,24]. The gases in their study did, however,
contain some C
2
H
2
, C
2
H
4
, C
2
H
6
and tar in addition to CH
4
, but considering these as CH
4
did not change
the overall results. The simpliÿed product gas compositions can be used as a ÿrst approximation.
To estimate the composition of volatiles, 1 kg of straw releases (during devolatilization) atomic weights,
n
O
, n
H
and n
C
of oxygen, hydrogen and carbon, respectively. Under the assumption that volatiles contain only
CO
2
, CO, H
2
O, H
2
and CH
4
, the elemental balances can be written as follows:
3.5.1. Oxygen balance
n
CO
+ 2n
CO
2
+ n
H
2
O
= n
O
. (36)
3.5.2. Carbon balance
n
CO
+ 2n
CO
2
+ n
CH
4
= n
C
. (37)
3.5.3. Hydrogen balance
2n
H
2
O
+ 4n
CH
4
+ 2n
H
2
= n
H
. (38)
The char is assumed to contain no hydrogen or oxygen, but only pure carbon. Thus, the following equation
can be written to describe the number of moles of carbon:
n
C
=
C
biomass
(1 −R
s
)
12
. (39)
For simpliÿcation, the following deÿnition can be written for R
CO
and R
CH
:
R
CO
=
n
CO
n
CO
2
, (40)
R
CH
=
n
CH
4
n
H
2
. (41)
Therefore, the number of moles resulting from the devolatilization of 1 kg straw could be determined.
3.6. Minimizing the free energy to calculate the gas compositions
The number of moles of CO
2
, CO, H
2
, H
2
O, CH
4
, O
2
and char which enter into the system react together
while the nitrogen was assumed to be an inert gas. The total number of moles, which enter the gasiÿer from
the straw volatiles and the gasifying agent, can be calculated as follows:
n
tot
=n
CO
2
+ n
CO
+ n
H
2
O
+ n
H
2
+n
CH
4
+ n
O
2
+ n
N
2
. (42)
Smith and Van ness [25] derived the following equation to minimize the free energy:
G
0
ÿ
+ R1 ln (+
i
P) +
¸
k
z
k
a
ik
= 0. (43)
S.S. Sadaka et al. / Biomass and Bioenergy 22 (2002) 439–462 451
Eq. (43) represents a simultaneous set of N +W equations in which N represents the number of produced
gas species while W represents the elemental balance equations. There are two reacting systems: the bubble
phase (which is a single gas phase containing CO
2
, CO, H
2
O, CH
4
and N
2
), the emulsion phase (which
allows the existence of solid carbon phase) and the gaseous phase with all six gas species present. Nitrogen
is an inert gas and its reaction with O
2
is neglected. The approach adapted by Bacon et al. [5] for solving
Eq. (43) is ÿrst to linearize ln(+
i
P) by Taylor’s expansion followed by solving the linearized equations with
successive iteration. The solution can be written in the following linear form:
AX = B. (44)
4. Derivation of the model parameters
4.1. Fluidized bed hydrodynamics
4.1.1. Particle diameter and density
To minimize the complexities resulting from the nonuniform particle size distribution in the bed, the
average particle diameter is used to represent all particles in the reactor and can be calculated as follows:
d
p
=
1
¸
n
i
x
i
d
pi
. (45)
All the hydrodynamic parameters are based on the binary particle mixture of char particles and refractory
material. The mean diameter (d
b
) and density (j
b
) of the particle mixture can be calculated using Eqs. (46)
and (47), respectively:
d
p
=
d
c
d
cr
(m
c
+ m
cr
)
d
c
m
cr
+ d
cr
m
c
(46)
and
j
b
=
d
c
d
cr
(m
c
+ m
cr
)
d
c
m
cr
j
cr
+ d
cr
m
c
j
c
. (47)
4.1.2. Bed voidage at minimum uidization velocity
Minimum uidization voidage (c
mf
) is assumed for the ring, into which some particles are pushed as they
enter the transitional segment from below and others fall back from above the bed surface. To predict the
minimum uidization voidage, the following equation by Abrahamssen and Geldart [26] was used:
c
mf
= 0.4025 + 603.7d
p
. (48)
4.1.3. Minimum uidization velocity
The minimum uidization velocity (U
mf
) is the minimum velocity at which the bed moves from the ÿxed
state to the uidizing state. The U
mf
is a function of particle shape, size, density and uidizing gas transport
properties. Several correlation’s have been developed for the estimation of U
mf
. To estimate the minimum
uidization velocity of straw at minimum uidization conditions, the equation developed by Botterill and
Bessant [27] was used:
U
mf
=
j
j
g
d
p
[
(1135.7 + 0.0408Ar) −33.7]. (49)
452 S.S. Sadaka et al. / Biomass and Bioenergy 22 (2002) 439–462
The Archimedes number was calculated as follows:
Ar =
d
3
p
j
g
(j
s
−j
g
)q
j
2
. (50)
4.1.4. Bubble velocity
The bubble velocity (U
b
) can be calculated using the equation developed by Davidson and Harison [28]:
U
b
= U −U
mf
+ 0.711
(qd
b
). (51)
Bed hydrodynamics are related to the bubble diameter in the bubbling region. It was assumed that bubbles
are uniform in size at any cross section of the bed but grow by coalescence with other bubbles while rising
throughout the bed. Mori and Wen [29] proposed a semiempirical correlation for bubble growth as follows:
d
p
= d
bm
−(d
bm
−d
bo
) exp
0.3Z
d
t
. (52)
The terms d
bm
and d
bo
were calculated as follows:
d
bm
= 1.64[A(U −U
mf
)]
0.4
, (53)
d
bo
= 0.872
A(U −U
mf
)
n
d
0.4
. (54)
4.1.5. Slugging velocity
The bubble velocity in the slugging region and the slugging velocity in a continuously uidized bed reactor
were calculated using the equation developed by Mori and Wen [29]:
U
s
= U −U
mf
+ 0.35
(qd
b
). (55)
4.1.6. Emulsion velocity
The emulsion phase gas velocity (U
e
) was calculated as follows [28]:
U
e
=
U
mf
(1 −o)
. (56)
The volume fraction of the bubble phase (o) was calculated as follows:
o =
(U −U
mf
)
U
b
. (57)
4.2. Jetting region
The gas discharge from the oriÿces of a gas distributor takes the form of a jet.
4.2.1. Jet height
The correlation developed by Merry [30] gives reasonable predictions of jet penetration depth at high
temperature conditions. This correlation was used to predict the depth of the jetting zone and was written as
follows:
L
j
d
m
= 5.2
j
g
d
m
j
s
d
p
0.3
1.3
U
2
m
d
m
q
−1
. (58)
S.S. Sadaka et al. / Biomass and Bioenergy 22 (2002) 439–462 453
4.2.2. Mass transfer coecient in jet zone
Behie et al. [31] proposed the following simple model to describe the mass transfer between the jet and
the emulsion phase:
(k
je
)
j
=
4k
j
d
m
j
j
. (59)
4.2.3. Heat transfer coecient in jet zone
Behie et al. [32] simpliÿed the following correlation to describe the heat transfer coecient between the
jet and the emulsion phase:
(H
je
)
j
=
4h
j
d
m
. (60)
4.3. Bubbling region
The bubbling region begins after the jet height until the bubble diameter becomes one third the bed diameter.
4.3.1. Mass transfer coecient in bubble zone
The following empirical correlation was used to approximate the gas interchange coecient between the
bubble and the emulsion gas [33]:
(K
be
)
b
=
0.11
d
b
. (61)
4.3.2. Heat transfer coecient in bubble zone
The following equations were used to predict the heat interchange coecient between the bubble and the
emulsion phases [34]:
Between bubble and cloud:
(H
bc
)
b
= 4.5
U
mf
CC
rg
d
p
+
10.4(k
g
CC
rg
)
0.5
d
1.25
b
. (62)
Between cloud and emulsion:
(H
ce
)
b
= 6.78
e
mf
k
g
CC
rg
U
b
d
3
b
0.5
. (63)
Between bubble and emulsion:
1
(H
be
)
b
=
1
(H
bc
)
b
+
1
(H
ce
)
b
. (64)
4.4. Slugging region
4.4.1. Slugging height
The slugging region is the region, which starts after the bubbles become onethird of the bed diameter.
454 S.S. Sadaka et al. / Biomass and Bioenergy 22 (2002) 439–462
4.4.2. Mass interchange coecient in slugging zone
The gas interchange between the slug and the cloudwake consists of additive bulk ow and diusion
transfer terms. Homeland and Davidson [35] gave the following expression for the gas interchange coecient:
(K
bc
)
s
=
1
d
t
m
U
mf
+
16e
mf
I
1 + e
mf
D
g
¬
0.5
q
d
t
0.25
. (65)
The term m and I are calculated as follows:
m =
H −L
b
−L
j
d
t
− 0.495
H −L
b
−L
j
d
t
0.5
+ 0.061, (66)
I = 0.379
H −L
b
−L
j
d
t
0.8625
. (67)
Ragraman and Potter [36] derived the following expression for the gas interchange coecient between the
cloudwake and emulsion phases and between slug and emulsion phases, respectively:
(K
ce
)
s
=
1 −o
1Dd
t
o
(0.35e
mf
(qd
t
)
0.5
−U
mf
), (68)
1
(K
be
)
s
=
1
(K
bc
)
s
+
1
(K
ce
)
s
. (69)
4.4.3. Heat interchange coecient in slugging zone
The heat interchange coecient between slugging and emulsion phases can be calculated as follows [36]:
(H
bc
)
s
=
1
d
t
m
U
mf
CC
rg
+
16e
mf
I
1 + e
mf
k
g
CC
rg
¬
0.5
q
d
t
0.5
, (70)
(H
ce
)
s
=
1 −o
1Dd
t
o
(0.35e
mf
(qd
t
)
0.5
−U
mf
)CC
rg
, (71)
1
(H
be
)
s
=
1
(H
bc
)
s
+
1
(H
ce
)
s
. (72)
4.5. Heat transfer between interstitial gas and solids
The resistance for mass transfer between the interstitial gas and the solid surface is included in the rate laws
for the heterogeneous reaction, which are expressed in terms of concentrations. The heat transfer coecient
can be obtained from a correlation proposed by Ranz and Marshall [37] as follows:
Nu = 2.0 + a(Pr)
b
(Re)
c
. (73)
Nusselt, Prandtl and Reynold’s numbers can be calculated as follows:
Nu =
h
p
d
p
k
g
, (74)
S.S. Sadaka et al. / Biomass and Bioenergy 22 (2002) 439–462 455
Pr =
h
p
d
p
k
g
, (75)
Re =
jd
p
U
b
j
. (76)
The overall heat transfer between particles and interstitial gas is calculated, by considering each particle to
be a sphere bathed in a stagnant uid, as follows:
h
p
=
2.0k
g
d
p
. (77)
4.6. Transport and thermodynamic properties
4.6.1. Viscosity of gases
Viscosity of reactor gases is polynomials in temperature and can be described by the following equation
[38]:
j = a
1
+ b
1
1 + c
1
1
2
+ d
1
1
3
+ e
1
1
4
+ !
1
1
5
. (78)
The equation recommended by Toulkian et al. [39] for steam was used:
j
H
2
O
= [80.4 + 0.407(1 −273.15) ×10
−7
] 273 1 973(K). (79)
4.6.2. Viscosity of the gas mixture
The viscosity of the gas mixture can be calculated from the following equation:
j
ij
=
7
¸
i=1
+
i
j
i
. (80)
4.6.3. Thermal conductivity of the gases
Toulkian et al. [40] correlated the thermal conductivity as follows:
K
gi
= a
2
+ b
2
1 + c
2
1
2
+ d
2
1
3
. (81)
4.6.4. Thermal conductivity of gas mixture
The thermal conductivity of the gas mixture can be calculated as follows:
K
ij
=
7
¸
i=1
+
i
K
gi
. (82)
4.6.5. Heat capacity
Heat capacity data are used to correct the free energy (G
0
!), the heat of formation (H
0
!) and the enthalpy
of the gas mixture to the temperature of interest. In all calculations, gases or gas mixtures are assumed to be
ideal (the heat of mixing and the pressure eect on enthalpy are neglected). The Reference state is taken as
the element at a pressure of 1 atm and a temperature of 298 K. Thus, the mean heat capacity was deÿned by
456 S.S. Sadaka et al. / Biomass and Bioenergy 22 (2002) 439–462
the following formula given by Reid et al. [41]:
C
rj, i
= a
3
+ b
3
1 + c
3
1
2
+ d
3
1
3
. (83)
4.6.6. Heat capacity of the gas mixture
The heat capacity of the gas mixture can be calculated as follows [41]:
C
rg
=
7
¸
i=1
+
i
C
rg, i
. (84)
4.6.7. Heat of formation
The gaseous heat of formation at 25
◦
C were taken from Reid and Prausnits [41]. The heat of reaction at
25
◦
C was calculated from the heat of formation as follows:
H
0
r)
=
N
¸
i=1
J
i
!
0
i
. (85)
4.6.8. The higher heating value
The higher heating value of the produced gas can be calculated as follows [41]:
HHV =
7
¸
i=1
HC
i
. (86)
5. Finite element approximation
The ÿnite element method is a numerical procedure for obtaining solutions to many of the physical prob
lems governed by dierential or partial dierential equations, which are encountered in engineering analyses.
It has two characteristics that distinguish it from other numerical procedures: (a) it utilizes an integral for
mulation to generate a system of algebraic equations and (b) it uses continuous piecewise smooth functions
for approximating the unknown quantities [42]. By approximating the time derivative of C
j
(t), the following
numerical representation at any interior node can be obtained [43]:
1
6
C
k+1
i+1
−C
k
i+1
t
+ 4
C
k+1
i
−C
k
i
t
+
C
k+1
i−1
−C
k
i−1
t
+ j
¸
C
k+1
i+1
−C
k+1
i−1
2 Z
+ (1 −z)
C
k
i+1
−C
k
i−1
2 Z
−D
i
¸
C
k+1
i+1
−2C
k+1
i
+ C
k+1
i−1
(Z)
2
+ (1 −¸)
C
k
i+1
−2C
k
i
+ C
k
i−1
(Z)
2
+ K
be
(C
k
ib
−C
k
ei
) −R
l
= 0. (87)
The set of equations is written symbolically as follows:
[RR] = [K][Y] −[F] = [0]. (88)
The numerical solution of the model equations was carried out as follows:
5.1. Carbon dioxide
The ÿnite element approximation for the carbon dioxide equations were written as follows:
S.S. Sadaka et al. / Biomass and Bioenergy 22 (2002) 439–462 457
5.1.1. In the bubble phase
1
6
C1b
k+1
i+1
−C1b
k
i+1
t
+ 4
C1b
k+1
i
−C1b
k
i
t
+
C1b
k+1
i−1
−C1b
k
i−1
t
+j
¸
C1b
k+1
i+1
−C1b
k+1
i−1
2 Z
+ (1 −¸)
C1b
k
i+1
−C1b
k
i−1
2 Z
−D
i
¸
C1b
k+1
i+1
−2C1b
k+1
i
+ C1b
k+1
i−1
(Z)
2
+ (1 −¸)
C1b
k
i+1
−2C1b
k
i
+ C1b
k
i−1
(Z)
2
+K
be
(C1b
k
ib
−C1e
k
i
) −R
l
= 0. (89)
5.1.2. In the emulsion phase
1
6
C1e
k+1
i+1
−C1e
k
i+1
t
+ 4
C1e
k+1
i
−C1e
k
i
t
+
C1e
k+1
i−1
−C1e
k
i−1
t
+j
¸
C1e
k+1
i+1
−C1e
k+1
i−1
2 Z
+ (1 −¸)
C1e
k
i+1
−C1e
k
i−1
2 Z
−D
i
¸
C1e
k+1
i+1
−2C1e
k+1
i
+ C1e
k+1
i−1
(Z)
2
+ (1 −¸)
C1e
k
i+1
−2C1e
k
i
+ C1e
k
i−1
(Z)
2
+K
be
(C1b
k
ib
−C1e
k
i
) −R
l
= 0. (90)
5.2. Temperature equations
Also, the ÿnite element approximation for the temperature equations were written as follows:
5.2.1. Bubble temperature
The ÿnite element approximation of the bubble temperature can be calculated as follows:
C
ib
C
rb
6
1b
k+1
i+1
−1b
k
i+1
t
+ 4
1b
k+1
i
−1b
k
i
t
+
1b
k+1
i−1
−1b
k
i−1
t
U
b
C
ib
C
rb
¸
1b
k+1
i+1
−1b
k+1
i−1
2 Z
+ (1 −¸)
1b
k
i+1
−1b
k
i−1
2 Z
+ oH
be
(1b
k
ib
−1e
k
i
) + oR
l
H
r!
. (91)
5.2.2. Emulsion temperature
The ÿnite element approximation of the emulsion temperature can be calculated as follows:
C
ie
C
re
6
1e
k+1
i+1
−1e
k
i+1
t
+ 4
1e
k+1
i
−1e
k
i
t
+
1e
k+1
i−1
−1e
k
i−1
t
458 S.S. Sadaka et al. / Biomass and Bioenergy 22 (2002) 439–462
=U
e
C
ie
C
re
¸
1e
k+1
i+1
−1e
k+1
i−1
2 Z
+ (1 −¸)
1e
k
i+1
−1e
k
i−1
2 Z
+(1 −o)H
be
(1b
k
ib
−1e
k
i
) + (1 −o)(1 −e
mf
)a
s
2k
g
d
p
×(1
k
si
−1
k
i
) + (1 −o)
4
¸
i=1
R
l
H
r!
. (92)
5.2.3. Solid temperature
The same technique was used to solve the partial dierential equation of the solids temperature [19].
5.3. Stability
To be able to formulate stability criteria for the dynamic ÿnite element model and for the related equations,
the following correlation was used [44]:
0.5U
b
(Z −U
b
t) 6D60.5
Z
2
t
−0.5U
2
b
t. (93)
The lefthand side inequality of this equation state that D must be nonnegative. This observation was used
to deÿne an optimal grid system (a grid system which uses a layer thickness as large as possible without
becoming unstable). The increments in the vertical direction and in the time domain can be described by the
following equations:
Z =
4D
U
b
, (94)
t =
2D
U
2
b
. (95)
These equations were used in the selection of time step and layer thickness for the model.
5.4. The computational algorithm
A dynamic computer simulation program was developed to simulate the performance of the biomass uidized
bed gasiÿer. The computer program is called Finite Element Analysis of Fluidized Bed Biomass Gasiÿcation
(FEAFBBG). The model consists of the main program and thirty subroutines. Calculations begin at the bottom
of the uidized bed where the gas and the biomass enters. The computational algorithm is summarized in the
ow chart given in Fig. 3. Fig. 4 shows the main program and the supporting subroutines. The computer
program is written in FORTRAN 77 for the HP UNIEX interactive computer. A detailed description of the
program and its organization is presented in Sadaka [19]. The program can be adapted to speciÿc needs of
potential users.
6. Discussion and conclusions
The model developed in this study is a twophase model based on the twophase theory of uidization. The
mass and energy balances were taken into consideration and the minimization of the free energy technique
S.S. Sadaka et al. / Biomass and Bioenergy 22 (2002) 439–462 459
Fig. 3. The computer simulation ow chart.
was used to calculate the gas mole fractions at the devolatilization stage. The uidized bed hydrodynamic
characteristics and the gas thermodynamic properties were also taken into consideration. The uidized bed
was divided into three zones: jetting, bubbling and slugging. The mass and heat transfer coecients were
calculated for each zone in both bubble and emulsion phases. The ÿnite element method was used to solve
460 S.S. Sadaka et al. / Biomass and Bioenergy 22 (2002) 439–462
Fig. 4. The computer program organization.
the partial dierential equations. The input variables of the computer program included: uidization velocity,
steam ow rate and biomass to steam ratio.
The uidized bed gasiÿer was divided into three zones (jet, bubbles and slug). Each zone was assumed to
contain solid free gas and an emulsion phase (gas mixed with solids) [18,28]. Slugs occurred in improper
uidization. It was incorporated into the model to give wide range of predictions for all uidization conditions.
Chang et al. [7] and Bacon et al. [5] used char gasiÿcation reactions to predict the gas compositions at the
exit of the gasiÿer. Such reactions cannot represent the biomass gasiÿcation process due to its high volatile
content (70–90%). Ergudenler et al. [17] and Buekens and Schoeters [13] visually observed the release
of volatile matter almost instantaneously, as soon as the biomass is introduced to the gasiÿer. Neglecting
the hydrodynamic properties of the uidization phenomenon would, therefore, decrease the model eciency
because the jet, bubble and slug heat and mass transfer coecients play very important roles in the gasiÿcation
results. Also, the transport and thermodynamic properties of the gas and its composition vary from place to
another. Therefore, the advantage of dealing with the hydrodynamic, transport and thermodynamic properties
is that the gas compositions can be predicted at a fairly good accuracy without the assumption that they are
constant throughout the bed. Although most of the conversion takes place in the dense bed, it is known that
char conversion continues in the freeboard region as well [19].
Desrosiers [45] reported that, no hydrocarbon other than CH
4
is thermodynamically stable under gasiÿcation
conditions. Although C
2
H
2
, C
2
H
4
, C
2
H
6
and other higher hydrocarbons (oil and tar) are produced in the
gasiÿer, they are accepted as nonequilibrium products. Therefore, in this model, all the hydrocarbons were
considered as CH
4
.
S.S. Sadaka et al. / Biomass and Bioenergy 22 (2002) 439–462 461
The model developed in this study is unique in considering all the variables taking place in the uidized
bed gasiÿcation. It is capable of predicting the bed temperature, gas mole fractions, gas higher heating value
and gas production rate. The model comprehends the biomass gasiÿcation in a selfsustainable system and
emphasizes the hydrodynamic, transport and thermodynamic properties of the gases in both the bubble and
emulsion phases. It is capable of predicting the gasiÿer performance during dynamic operation as well as steady
state operation. Applying the minimization of free energy technique and using the ÿnite element method to
solve the partial dierential equations gave reasonable and stable solutions.
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