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  1. Integrated Particle- and Reactor-Scale Simulation of Pine Pyrolysis in a Fluidized Bed

    We report results from a multiscale computational modeling study of biomass fast pyrolysis in an experimental laboratory reactor that combined the hydrodynamics predicted by a two-fluid model (TFM) with predictions from a finite element model (FEM) of heat and mass transfer and chemical reactions within biomass particles. The experimental pyrolyzer consisted of a 2-inch (5.1 cm)-diameter bubbling fluidized bed reactor (FBR) fed with milled pine pellets. The predicted FBR hydrodynamics included estimates of the residence times that the gas and biomass particles spend in the reactor before they exit. A single-particle FEM model was constructed based on geometry and heatmore » transfer properties determined from optical and X-ray Computed Tomography (XCT) measurements of wood and char particles collected from the experimental FBR, along with previously proposed pyrolysis reaction kinetics. Taken together, the combined TFM and FEM simulation results predicted net bio-oil yields at the reactor exit that agree well with experimental observations, without any arbitrary fitting parameters. The combined computational models also provided practical information about the most important reactor and feedstock parameters.« less
  2. Chemics-Reactors: A Preliminary Python Program for Implementing Network Models of Multiphase Reactors

    We discuss the design and implementation of a preliminary software package written in Python 3 that is intended to represent complex multiphase reactors as networks of ideal continuous stirred tank reactors. This software also implements statistical design of experiments, uncertainty quantification, and global sensitivity analysis. These advanced features can provide important qualitative and quantitative insights into the effect of operating conditions and model parameters on predicted reactor performance. We demonstrate the utility of the program by modeling the vapor phase catalytic upgrading of bio-oil in a bubbling fluidized bed reactor.
  3. Simulating Biomass Fast Pyrolysis at the Single Particle Scale

    Simulating fast pyrolysis at the scale of single particles allows for the investigation of the impacts of feedstock-specific parameters such as particle size, shape, and species of origin. For this reason particle-scale modeling has emerged as an important tool for understanding how variations in feedstock properties affect the outcomes of pyrolysis processes. The origins of feedstock properties are largely dictated by the composition and hierarchical structure of biomass, from the microstructural porosity to the external morphology of milled particles. These properties may be accounted for in simulations of fast pyrolysis by several different computational approaches depending on the level ofmore » structural and chemical complexity included in the model. The predictive utility of particle-scale simulations of fast pyrolysis can still be enhanced substantially by advancements in several areas. Most notably, considerable progress would be facilitated by the development of pyrolysis kinetic schemes that are decoupled from transport phenomena, predict product evolution from whole-biomass with increased chemical speciation, and are still tractable with present-day computational resources.« less

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