The doctoral dissertations of the former Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and Aalto University Schools of Technology (CHEM, ELEC, ENG, SCI) published in electronic format are available in the electronic publications archive of Aalto University - Aaltodoc.

Hydrodynamics of Low-Flux and High-Flux Circulating Fluidized Beds

Janne Pärssinen

Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology to be presented with due permission of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Helsinki University of Technology, for public examination and debate in Auditorium K216 at Helsinki University of Technology (Espoo, Finland) on the 15th of November, 2002, at 12 o'clock noon.

Overview in PDF format (ISBN 951-22-6331-9)   [5404 KB]
Dissertation is also available in print (ISBN 951-666-610-8)


The ongoing growth of world population and industrialization is increasing the primary energy demand, and also the need for transport fuels. The increasing carbon dioxide and other emissions are fostering the political atmosphere to demand for a more sustainable development with more efficient usage of raw materials and resources.

In order to improve some key processes in refineries, such as Fluidized Catalytic Cracking (FCC), a better understanding of high-flux flow hydrodynamics is necessary. FCC units are producing a large proportion of gasoline world-wide, and some other valuable products such as light olefins and light cycle oil. Nearly all FCC units in production utilize a riser reactor, where the solids (catalyst) circulation rate could range from 400 kg/m2s to 1,200 kg/m2s, and the superficial gas velocity from 6 m/s to 28 m/s. Therefore, it is surprising that nearly all studies of CFB pilot hydrodynamics have been carried out at low solids fluxes of less than 200 kg/m2s, whereas only a few limited but helpful studies are discussing higher solids fluxes of over 500 kg/m2s (Zhu and Bi, 1995). Such studies are regarded very useful for industrial processes and unit design, development and optimization.

In comparison to those studies carried out in the dense suspension upflow (DSU) regime (Grace et al., 1999), this Thesis will discuss high-flux operations where the axial solids holdup profile is not flat and the cross-sectional solids concentration is clearly less than 10%-vol in the upper portion of the riser. Consequently, the operation has similarities to both DSU and fast fluidization (FF) flow regimes. Since the cross-sectional solids concentration is also low (<10%-vol) in the upper portion of industrial FCC risers, another aim is to provide a detailed image of the radial solids concentration profiles and their development toward the top of a high-flux riser. Since there is confusion of how and why DSU flow regime would occupy a riser, some fundamental reasons are discussed in detail. It is shown that to realize a high-density circulating fluidized-bed operation (HFCFB), a high-flux circulating fluidized-bed (HFCFB) operation is essential but not sufficient.

For having some experience enclosed from a low-flux riser, paper I is discussing the low-flux riser hydrodynamics concerning especially the flow structure near to the column wall. Paper II and III present the solids concentration and particle velocity profiles and flow development in a long and high-flux riser. Paper IV goes on to define a novel concept of four longitudinal sections in a HFCFB riser (but not in a HFCFB riser). This concept may be a very useful fundamental aid for industrial modeling of HFCFB risers. Paper V presents some operating experience of a high-flux riser with a novel design in the solids feeding inlet. Paper VI is discussing the particle aggregation in a HFCFB riser. The collected data in papers II to VI are believed to be useful for several industrial applications since not much measured data existed under high-solids fluxes.

This thesis consists of an overview and of the following 6 publications:

  1. Pärssinen J. H., Hagelberg, P., Eilos, I., Aittamaa, J., Application of Dynamic Pressure Probe Technique to Characterize a Circulating Fluidized Bed, Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, Vol. 77, pp. 299-304, April 1999.
  2. Pärssinen J. H. and Zhu, J.-X., Axial and Radial Solids Distribution in a Long and High-Flux CFB Riser, American Journal of Chemical Engineering, 47 (10) 2197-2205 (2001).
  3. Pärssinen J. H. and Zhu, J.-X., Particle Velocity and Flow Development in a Long and High-Flux Circulating Fluidized Bed Riser, Chemical Engineering Science, 56 (5295-5303), 2001. © 2001 Elsevier Science. By permission.
  4. Pärssinen J. H., Zhu, J.-X., Yan, A.-I., Bu, J.-J., Flow Development in a High-Flux and Long Riser, in Fluidization X, Eds., M. Kwauk, J. Li and W-C Yang, Engineering Foundation, New York, pp. 261-268, 2001.
  5. Yan, A.-J., Pärssinen J. H. and Zhu, J.-X., Operating Experience of a High-Flux Circulating Fluidized Bed, in Circulating Fluidized Bed Technology VII, Eds., J. R. Grace, J.-X. Zhu and H. Lasa, Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering, Ottawa, Canada, pp. 295-302, 2002.
  6. Yan, A.-J., Manyele S. V., Pärssinen J. H. and Zhu, J.-X., The Interdependence of Micro and Macro Flow Structures under a High-Flux Flow, in Circulating Fluidized Bed Technology VII, Eds., J. R. Grace, J.-X. Zhu and H. Lasa, Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering, Ottawa, Canada, pp. 357-364, 2002.

Keywords: circulating fluidized beds, riser, solids concentration, particle velocity

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Last update 2011-05-26