A fast pyrolysis process in a bubbling fluidized bed has been modeled, thoroughly reproduced and scrutinized with the help of a combined Eulerian/Lagrangian simulation method. The 3-D model is compared to experimental results from a 100 g/h bubbling fluidized bed pyrolyzer including such variables as particle composition at the outlet and gas/vapor/water yields as a function of fluidization conditions, biomass moisture concentrations, and bed temperatures. Multiprocessor simulations on a high-end computer have been carried out to enable the tracking of each of the 0.8 million individual discrete sand and biomass particles, making it possible to look at accurate and detailed multiscale information (i.e., any desired particle property, trajectory, particle interaction) over the entire particle life time. The overall thermochemical degradation process of biomass is influenced by local flow and particle properties and, therefore, accurate and detailed modeling reveals unprecedented insight into such complex processes. It has been found, that the superficial fluidization velocity is important while the particle moisture content is less significant for the final bio-oil yield. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 58: 3030–3042, 2012
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