CFD Modeling of Commercial-Scale Entrained-Flow Coal Gasifiers

Accelerating Fossil Energy Technology Development Through Integrated Computation and Experimentation
AIChE Annual Meeting
October 31, 2012 - 3:30pm-4:00pm
Optimization of an advanced coal-fired integrated gasification combined cycle system requires an accurate numerical prediction of gasifier performance.  Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) has been used to model the turbulent multiphase reacting flow inside commercial-scale entrained-flow coal gasifiers.  Due to the complexity of the physical and chemical processes involved, the accuracy of sub-models requires further improvement.  Built upon a previously developed CFD model for entrained-flow gasification, the advanced physical and chemical sub-models presented in this paper include a moisture vaporization model with consideration of high mass transfer rate and a coal devolatilization model with more species to represent coal volatiles and the heating rate effect on volatile yield.  The global gas phase reaction kinetics is also carefully selected.  To predict a reasonable peak temperature of the coal/O2 flame inside an entrained-flow gasifier, the reserve reaction of H2 oxidation is included in the gas phase reaction model.  The enhanced CFD model is applied to simulate two typical commercial-scale oxygen-blown entrained-flow configurations including a single-stage down-fired gasifier and a two-stage up-fired gasifier.  The CFD results are reasonable in terms of predicted carbon conversion, syngas exit temperature, and syngas exit composition.  The predicted profiles of velocity, temperature, and species mole fractions inside the entrained-flow gasifier models show trends similar to those observed in a diffusion-type flame.  The predicted distributions of mole fractions of major species inside both gasifiers can be explained by the heterogeneous combustion and gasification reactions and the homogeneous gas phase reactions.  It was also found that the syngas compositions at the CFD model exits are not in chemical equilibrium, indicating the kinetics for both heterogeneous and gas phase homogeneous reactions are important.  Overall, the results achieved here indicate that the gasifier models reported in this paper are reliable and accurate enough to be incorporated into process/CFD co-simulations of IGCC power plants for system-wide design and optimization.
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