Chemical Engineering Science, Vol.66, No.10, 2224-2231, 2011
Effect of a dispersed immiscible liquid phase on the hydrodynamics of a bubble column and ebullated bed
Secondary undesired reactions in ebullated bed resid hydroprocessors can generate an additional dispersed liquid phase, referred as mesophase, which is denser and more viscous than the continuous liquid phase and affects the operation and transport phenomena of the fluidized bed. This study investigates the effect of a dispersed immiscible liquid phase on the overall phase holdups, bubble properties, and fluidization behavior in a bubble column and ebullated bed. The experimental system consisted of biodiesel as the continuous liquid phase, glycerol as the dispersed liquid phase, 1.3 mm diameter glass beads, and nitrogen. The addition of dispersed glycerol reduced the gas holdups in the bubble column for the studied gas and liquid superficial velocities. Dynamic gas disengagement profiles reveal a rise in the large bubble population and reductions to the small and micro bubble holdups when increasing the glycerol concentration. Liquid-liquid-solid bed expansions at various liquid flowrates confirm particle agglomeration in the presence of a more viscous dispersed liquid phase. Overall phase holdups in a gas-liquid-liquid-solid ebullated bed were obtained while varying the gas and liquid flowrates as well as the glycerol concentration. A coalesced bubble flow regime was observed in the bed region without glycerol whereas the addition of glycerol resulted in the dispersed bubble flow regime due to particle clustering and a greater apparent particle size. The resulting bubble flow regime increased the bed and freeboard region gas holdups due to enhanced bubble break-up. Observations of the fluidized bed behavior following the addition of the dispersed glycerol are also discussed. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.