Continuous flow characterization of solid biomass in a reciprocating/rotating scraper tube: An experimental study



The performance of reciprocating/rotating scrapers has been assessed in a visualization study of the continuous flow hydrodynamics of air-fluidized solid biomass under varying conditions of air flow rate and scraping velocities. A combination of low air flow rates and high scraping velocities results in more uniform flow of both types of biomass investigated. Power consumed by the reciprocating action of the scrapers increases with the scraping velocity but typically represents no more than 20% of the overall power consumption at the highest air flow rate applied. We also demonstrate that rotation of the scrapers superimposed on their reciprocating action gives higher flow rate of biomass and better mixing within the bulk solid compared to reciprocating action alone. The application of the reciprocating/rotating scraper technology described in this study represents a viable step forward in developing a continuous, large-scale process for the microwave-assisted decomposition of solid biomass to produce bio-oils. © 2014 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 60: 3732–3738, 2014