The effect of different particle residence time distributions on the chemical looping combustion process

26 Apr 2018

A model for chemical looping combustion has been developed to allow the effect of different residence time distributions of oxygen carrier particles in the air and fuel reactors to be investigated. The model envisages two, coupled fluidised bed reactors with steady circulation of particles between them. The results show that the process is sensitive to the residence time distributions, particularly when the mean residence time of particles in the reactors is similar to the time required for them to react completely. Under certain operating conditions, decreasing the variance of the residence time distribution, leads to a greater mean conversion of the particles by the time they leave the reactors and higher mean rates of reaction in the beds. In this way the required inventory and circulation rate of solids could be reduced, which would lower the capital and operating costs of a CLC process. Since the residence time distribution of solids is important, it should be taken into account when modelling or designing a chemical looping combustion process, e.g. by using a tanks-in-series model. This work indicates that if the number of tanks, N ≤ 5, knowing N to the nearest integer is generally sufficient, unless a high degree of accuracy is needed. As N increases, the sensitivity of the coupled system decreases, so for N > 5, knowing the value to the nearest 5 or 10 tanks is sufficient. This is valid whether N is the same or different in the two reactors. Chemical looping combustion is one example of a reactor-regenerator system, so the results are also relevant for other processes of this type, such as fluidised catalytic cracking.