CFD–DEM modeling of autothermal pyrolysis of corn stover with a coupled particle- and reactor-scale framework

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Oyedeji, Oluwafemi A.
Pecha, M. Brennan
Finney, Charles E.A.
Peterson, Chad A.
Smith, Ryan G.
Mills, Zachary G.
Gao, Xi
Shahnam, Mehrdad
Rogers, William A.
Ciesielski, Peter N.
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Elsevier B.V.
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Mechanical Engineering
The Department of Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University is where innovation thrives and the impossible is made possible. This is where your passion for problem-solving and hands-on learning can make a real difference in our world. Whether you’re helping improve the environment, creating safer automobiles, or advancing medical technologies, and athletic performance, the Department of Mechanical Engineering gives you the tools and talent to blaze your own trail to an amazing career.
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Bioeconomy Institute
The Bioeconomy Institute at Iowa State University leads the nation and world in establishing the bioeconomy, where society obtains renewable fuel, energy, chemicals, and materials from agricultural sources. The institute seeks to advance the use of biorenewable resources for the production of fuels, energy, chemicals, and materials. The Institute will assure Iowa’s prominence in the revolution that is changing the way society obtains its essential sources of energy and carbon. This revolution will dramatically reduce our dependence on petroleum. Instead of fossil sources of carbon and energy, the bioeconomy will use biomass (including lignocellulose, starches, oils and proteins) as a renewable resource to sustain economic growth and prosperity. Agriculture will supply renewable energy and carbon to the bioeconomy while engineering will transform these resources into transportation fuels, commodity chemicals, and electric power. This transformation, however, must be done in a manner that meets our present needs without compromising those of future generations.
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Autothermal operation of fast pyrolysis is an efficient process-intensification technique wherein exothermic oxidation reactions are used to overcome the heat-transfer bottleneck of conventional pyrolysis. The development of accurate, reliable modeling toolsets is imperative to generating a deeper understanding of biomass autothermal pyrolysis systems to support scale-up and industrial deployment. This modeling effort describes the development of single-particle and reactor models which incorporate detailed reaction schemes and simultaneous exothermic oxidation reactions. The particle-scale model was parameterized for corn stover feedstock with particle morphology, density, ash content, and biopolymer composition, all of which impact the emergent conversion characteristics during pyrolysis. Results were then used to parameterize a reactor-scale autothermal pyrolysis model, which was developed using a coarse-grained computational fluid dynamic–discrete element method. The simulation results compared well with experimental results, with the predicted bio-oil, light gas, and biochar yield within 3.0 wt% of the experimental yields. Further analyses were performed to test the influence of equivalence ratio, biomass injection position, and particle size distribution on autothermal pyrolysis. The analysis of the physio-chemical properties of the fluid and solid phase inside the reactor and at the reactor outlet help reveal important process interactions of autothermal pyrolysis.
This article is published as Oyedeji, Oluwafemi A., M. Brennan Pecha, Charles EA Finney, Chad A. Peterson, Ryan G. Smith, Zachary G. Mills, Xi Gao et al. "CFD–DEM modeling of autothermal pyrolysis of corn stover with a coupled particle-and reactor-scale framework." Chemical Engineering Journal 446 (2022): 136920. DOI: 10.1016/j.cej.2022.136920. Works produced by employees of the U.S. Government as part of their official duties are not copyrighted within the U.S. The content of this document is not copyrighted.