Energy, Vol.102, 669-681, 2016
Chemical-looping combustion in a reverse-flow fixed bed reactor
A reverse-flow fixed bed reactor concept for CLC (chemical-looping combustion) is explored. The limitations of conventional fixed bed reactors, as applied to CLC, are overcome by reversing the gas flow direction periodically to enhance the mixing characteristics of the bed, thus improving oxygen carrier utilization and energy efficiency with respect to power generation. The reverse-flow reactor is simulated by a dusty-gas model and compared with an equivalent fixed bed reactor without flow reversal. Dynamic optimization is used to calculate conditions at which each reactor operates at maximum energy efficiency. Several cases studies illustrate the benefits of reverse-flow operation for the CLC with CuO and NiO oxygen carriers and methane and syngas fuels. The results show that periodic reversal of the flow during reduction improves the contact between the fuel and unconverted oxygen carrier, enabling the system to suppress unwanted catalytic reactions and axial temperature and conversion gradients. The operational scheme presented reduces the fluctuations of temperature during oxidation and increases the high-temperature heat produced by the process. CLC in a reverse-flow reactor has the potential to achieve higher energy efficiency than conventional fixed bed CLC reactors, when integrated with a downstream gas turbine of a combined cycle power plant. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.