Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, Vol.94, No.5, 966-979, 2016
Optimal design of hydraulic capsule pipelines transporting spherical capsules
The scarcity of fossil fuels affects the efficiency of established modes of cargo transport within the transportation industry. Extensive research is being carried out on improving the efficiency of existing modes of cargo transport, as well as developing alternative means of transporting goods. One such alternative method is using energy contained within fluid flowing in pipelines to transfer goods from one place to another. The present study focuses on the use of advanced numerical modelling tools to simulate the flow within hydraulic capsule pipelines (HCPs) transporting spherical capsules with an aim of developing design equations. Hydraulic capsule pipeline refers to the transport of goods in hollow containers (capsules), typically spherical or cylindrical in shape, which are carried along the pipeline by water. HCPs are used in mineral industries and have potential for use in oil and gas sectors. A novel modelling technique was employed to investigate various geometric and flow conditions within HCPs. Both qualitative and quantitative flow analyses were carried out on the flow of spherical capsules in an HCP for both onshore and offshore applications. Furthermore, based on the least-cost principle, an optimization methodology was developed for the design of single-stage HCPs. The input to the optimization model is the solid throughput required from the system, and the outputs are the optimal diameter of the HCPs and the pumping requirements for the capsule transporting system.