This paper propose recirculating fluidized bed (RCFB) reactor for chemical-looping combustion (CLC) to overcome some of the issues associated with the existing interconnected reactors arrangements like low residence time of bed material in the air reactor, high attrition of bed material in the cyclone separator, cluster formation in the air reactor, complex operation involving loop seals and high heat losses. RCFB has high solid circulation rate, long residence time, efficient fuel–oxygen carrier contact, low heat losses and low gas leak in between the reactors, as compared to the existing reactor configurations. A cold model study was performed on a Perspex made, semicircular, transparent RCFB reactor. A single RCFB reactor was operated in the alternate oxidation and fuel burning cycles to simulate the interconnected reactors arrangement for CLC. The generated experimental data has been used to predict the optimal RCFB reactor configuration for a RCFB-based CLC power plant. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.