Research Papers: Energy From Biomass

Effect of Heat Flux Distribution Profile on Hydrogen Concentration in an Allothermal Downdraft Biomass Gasification Process: Modeling Study

[+] Author and Article Information
Yuhan A. Lenis

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Universidad del Norte,
km 5 vía Puerto Colombia,
Barranquilla 081007, Colombia;
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Institución Universitaria Pascual Bravo,
Calle 73 No. 73A-226,
Medellín 050034, Colombia
e-mails: ylenis@uninorte.edu.co;

Gilles Maag

Department of Biosystems Engineering,
Faculty of Animal Science and
Food Engineering,
University of São Paulo (USP),
Avenida Duque de Caxias Norte 225,
Pirassununga, São Paulo 13635-900, Brazil
e-mail: gmaag@usp.br

Celso Eduardo Lins de Oliveira

Department of Biosystems Engineering,
Faculty of Animal Science and
Food Engineering,
University of São Paulo (USP),
Avenida Duque de Caxias Norte 225,
Pirassununga, São Paulo 13635-900, Brazil
e-mail: celsooli@usp.br

Lesme Corredor

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Universidad del Norte,
Km 5 vía Puerto Colombia,
Barranquilla 081007, Colombia
e-mail: lcorredo@uninorte.edu.co

Marco Sanjuan

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Universidad del Norte,
Km 5 vía Puerto Colombia,
Barranquilla 081007, Colombia
e-mail: msanjuan@uninorte.edu.co

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received May 17, 2018; final manuscript received October 7, 2018; published online October 26, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Abel Hernandez-Guerrero.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 141(3), 031801 (Oct 26, 2018) (10 pages) Paper No: JERT-18-1351; doi: 10.1115/1.4041723 History: Received May 17, 2018; Revised October 07, 2018

Considering the potential of using concentrating solar power systems to supply the heat required for the allothermal gasification process, this study analyzes hydrogen production in such a system by assuming typical radiative heat flux profiles for a receiver of a central tower concentrated solar power (CSP) plant. A detailed model for allothermal gasification in a downdraft fixed bed tubular reactor is proposed. This considers solid and gas phases traveling in parallel flow along the reactor. Results for temperature and gas profile show a reasonable quantitative agreement with experimental works carried out under similar conditions. Aiming to maximize H2 yield, eight Gaussian flux distributions, similar to those typical of CSP systems, each with a total power of 8 kW (average heat flux 20 kW/m2), but with varying peak locations, were analyzed. The results show a maximum producer gas yield and a chemical efficiency of 134.1 kmol/h and 45.9% respectively, with a molar concentration of 47.2% CO, 46.9% H2, 3.3% CH4, and 2.6% CO2 for a distribution peak at z = 1.4 m, thus relatively close to the flue gas outlet. Hydrogen production and gas yield using this configuration were 4% and 2.9% higher than the achieved using the same power but homogeneously distributed. Solar to chemical efficiencies ranged from 38.9% to 45.9%, with a minimum when distribution peak was at the reactor center. These results are due to high temperatures during the latter stage of the process favoring char gasification reactions.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Temperature profile comparison between A1 (Tsi and Tgi) and A2 (Ti) approaches. Left: top of the reactor. Right: bottom of reactor.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Model validation after reaching steady-state. Left: temperature profile; right: gas concentration.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Gas yield (left) and solid yield and temperature profile (right) at homogeneous heat flux distribution

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Performance indicators: (a) temperature profile, (b) final gas concentration, and (c) process efficiencies. BM indicates benchmark.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Gas components (left) and solid phase rates (right) for strategies G0.2, G0.8, and G1.4

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Process performance as a function of peak flux value and its location

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Heat distribution along gasifier length. Biomass enters at 0 m.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Schematic representation of the discretization method employed to solve the system of partial differential equations



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