Interfacial mass transfer limitations in the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis operated in a slurry bubble column at industrial conditions
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionChemical Engineering Science. 2018, 192 1138-1156. 10.1016/j.ces.2018.08.018
At high catalyst volume fractions the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS) operated in a slurry bubble column (SBC) is driven into the mass transfer limited regime. This study utilized literature models for the gas-liquid mass transfer coefficients in a multifluid-population balance model in which the gas-phase composition was a function of bubble size. The results confirmed that mass transfer limitations occur and that the choice of mass transfer coefficient model is crucial, yielding final conversion results ranging from 45% to 92% depending on the choice of models. At smaller values the composition is highly dependent on bubble size, whilst for the largest values the composition is not a function of bubble size at all. The population balance modeling (PBM) allowed for explicitly keeping track of the bubble size distribution. Varying the inlet Sauter-mean diameter (SMD) resulted in a linear decrease in conversion as the inlet SMD was increased from 5 mm to 20 mm. Illustrative models for the bubble size dependency of were implemented, which provided additional information compared to traditional models which use (bubble size) averaged values for the liquid-phase mass transfer coefficient and/or the gas-liquid interfacial area a and composition.