Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) Modelling

In recent years, computational fluid dynamic modelling, usually abbreviated as CFD, has emerged as an emerging tool for the simulation of processes involving dynamic and reactive multiphase flows, such as in biomass gasification reactors. Computational fluid dynamics is a branch of fluid mechanics that uses numerical methods and algorithms to predict complex multiphase flow behaviors, such as gas-solid flow in a reactor. Our CFD modeling is uniquely combining knowledge on particle technology and biomass conversion in order to solve challenging engineering problems related to biomass thermochemical conversion and develop novel reactors for future industrial applications.

At EBRI, we are particularly interested in applying mathematical models and CFD codes for studying fluidized bed reactors performance and predict the product quality during biomass gasification and pyrolysis. We use in-house developed computer models and specialized commercial CFD software, e.g. Ansys Fluent commercial CFD, supported by user defined functions to predict the complex hydrodynamics, heat transfer and reactions taking place during biomass thermochemical conversion.

Our researchers are well experienced in using Eulerian-Eulerian (two-fluid) modelling approach, a dramatically fast computational method for the simulation of real industrial scale reactors. With our high-speed supercomputers, we produce accurate 3D data for gaining fundamental scientific knowledge as well as for implementation in design, parametric analysis, operational problem solving, techno-economic evaluation and scale-up analysis. Examples of the parameters that can be predicted at the reactor level include, but not limited to:

  • Composition and quantities of the product gas, liquid and solids

  • Distribution of temperature, pressure and species concentrations inside the reactor

  • The product gas and liquid heating values, tar content, char quantity and quality

  • Detailed flow hydrodynamics, such as the velocities and concentration of the various phases

  • Simulation and animation in the form of videos and short clips and snap shot images.

Our projects, which are supported by industrial collaborator and research councils, include development of new models for wet particles suspension in fluidised bed reactors and understanding inter-particle forces at the micro-scale level, supported by the Leverhulme Ltd (UK), development of a novel process for the gasification of paper waste, with Aylesford News Print Ltd, (UK) and Building 3D predictive models of biomass gasification in fluidized bed reactors. Our theoretical approach is supported by a range of modern fluidized bed reactors including a 1 MW pilot plant biomass gasifier.