A pressurized Internally Circulating Reactor (ICR) for streamlining development of chemical looping technology
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Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) considered playing a major role in most mitigation scenarios to meet the ambitions of Paris agreement in limiting future temperature increases to 2°C. Chemical looping process viewed as a promising technology that allows for cleaner energy generation and chemical production from fossil fuel utilization with inherent CO2 capture and with high overall plant efficiency. Pressurized operation of the chemical looping system is a prerequisite for maximizing energy efficiency in most proposed configurations, introducing significant complexities related to system design, operation and scale-up. Therefore, the current PhD thesis aimed to demonstrate the technical attractiveness of the internally circulating reactor (ICR) concept based on the circulating fluidized bed reactor (CFB) configuration, but with innovative solution that facilitate pressurized operation of the chemical looping processes. The ICR integrates the two reactors, cyclones, loop seals and solids transport lines of the conventional CFB into a single unit that simplifies design and pressurized operation. The current PhD thesis has successfully commissioned and demonstrated the pressurized lab-scale ICR reactor. The lab-scale ICR reactor employed to demonstrate two different chemical looping technologies under pressurized condition: chemical looping combustion (CLC), and chemical looping reforming (CLR). CLC is one of the most promising technologies for power generation with inherent CO2 capture, where the best performance expected when integrated into a combined cycle, with the CLC reactor operated at high pressure. CLR has the capability of achieving higher overall plant energy efficiencies with lower carbon capture energy penalties for hydrogen and syngas production compared to conventional reforming technologies. Comprehensive experimental campaigns conducted using the ICR unit. The aim of these campaigns was to examine the technical feasibility of the ICR concept for chemical looping process applications, as well as to obtain an extensive understanding of the effect of the various operating parameters on the overall reactor performance. The first experimental campaign conducted in order to obtain an initial insight about the ICR concept. The experiments conducted at atmospheric pressure, using a NiO-based oxygen carrier. The initial non-reactive test showed that stable and continuous solids circulation rate could achieved with minimal gas leakage. Subsequently, a fully reactive CLC and CLR tests conducted using methane as fuel. For CLC, methane feed adjusted to achieve full combustion of the fuel to CO2 and H2O. For CLR, syngas production achieved by altering the CH4/O2 ratio through controlling methane feed to the fuel reactor (FR), and oxygen feed to the air reactor (AR). A range of experiments showed that ICR behaved largely as expected showing almost no syngas production when the CH4/O2 ratio was close to 0.5 (stoichiometric ratio for combustion), but steadily increasing syngas production when the CH4/O2 ratio was increased. The second experimental campaign designed to expand the knowledge of ICR operation by mapping out an operating window for the CLC process that maximizes the overall reactor performance. The campaign also conducted at atmospheric pressure, but with a wider range of other operating conditions; to develop a better understanding of the behavior of the concept. The experimental test conducted for CLC mode using CO as fuel and a MnO-based oxygen carrier. A wide range of operating conditions explored, including various solids inventories, and fluidization velocity in AR and FR. The main results of this campaign can be summarized as follows: 1) The air flowrate to the AR and the solids inventory are the main driving forces for the solids circulation in ICR, increasing both parameters led to an increase in the solids circulation rate. 2) CO2 capture efficiency and purity were sensitive to the solids inventory but insensitive to other operating parameters, CO2 capture efficiency and purity decreased with increasing the solids inventory. 3) The solids elutriation found to increase with increasing both the AR flowrate and solids inventory. 4) The reactor proved relatively simple to control over a range of operating conditions and showed predictable solids circulation and fuel conversion behavior. 5) An autothermal experimental run also completed to demonstrate this ease of operation. The third experimental campaign aimed to demonstrate the ability of ICR to achieve pressurized CLC operation as well as to understand the role played by the pressure, the solids inventory and the fluidization velocity in AR and FR on various ICR performance measures. The experiments conducted using CO as fuel and with a NiO-based oxygen carrier. The results of this campaign showed a stable CLC operation with high fuel conversion for about 40 hours of steady state operation at pressures up to 6 bar, achieving reasonable CO2 purity and capture efficiency (up to 97%). The solids circulation rate found to increase with increasing the operating pressure at a constant fluidization velocity with no effect on CO2 capture and purity. The CO2 purity and capture efficiency found to be most sensitive to the solids inventory, whereas the solids circulation rate was most sensitive to the air reactor fluidization velocity and the solids inventory. Autothermal CLC operation also achieved at pressurized condition illustrating the full potential of the concept. Furthermore, a correlation for solids circulation rate derived from the collected experimental data, thus providing a robust tool for designing an ICR system for pressurized operation. This correlation can assist in further scale-up and designing an ICR pilot plant in the order of 0.1 to 1 MW at pressures relevant to real industrial conditions. The fourth experimental campaign applied ICR for high-pressure chemical looping methane reforming to syngas (CLR) process. The tests conducted using a NiO-based oxygen carrier and methane thermal input of 4 kW. The results of the campaign revealed the capability of ICR to achieve a stable syngas production with high conversion efficiencies at pressurized conditions up to 4 bar. The composition of the syngas produced at the various operating pressure found to be close to the equilibrium compositions. An H2/CO ratio of around 2.0 to 2.8 obtained, which is desirable for Fischer-Tropsch process and methanol synthesis. Further insight of applying CLR process to a large-scale methanol production plant explored through a process modeling approach using Aspen Plus. The CLR based process compared with the state-of-the-art technology for methanol production from natural gas through autothermal reforming (ATR). The simulation results revealed that a CLR-based methanol plant achieve an equivalent methanol efficiency up to ~79% compared to ~74% for the conventional ATR-based process. A sensitivity analysis also conducted for the effects of CLR operating pressure, and gas leakage between AR and FR expected when using the ICR system. It found that increasing the pressure resulted in an increase on the overall efficiency up to a point where further increase have a negligible effect. As for the gas leakage in ICR, it was revealed that a decrease of the syngas purity and recovery from 100% to 95% resulted in a decrease on the overall plant efficiency by ~4%. This finding indicate that the gas leakage on ICR has a large impact on the overall plant performance, therefore, a careful considerations should be taken when designing a large scale ICR unit to ensure a minimum gas leakage between the two reactor sections. In summary, this PhD thesis achieved its primary objective of building and demonstrating a unique lab-scale pressurized ICR unit. Extensive operational experience was gained over a wide range of operational parameters that significantly improved understanding of the concept. The results of the experimental demonstration clearly indicate the viability of the ICR concept for high-pressure chemical looping applications, and hence future scale-up is recommend. Moreover, The ICR experimental outcome offers a substantial addition to the state of art when it comes to pressurized circulating fluidized-bed reactors, especially for chemical looping processes.
Består avOsman, Mogahid; Khan, Mohammed Nazeer Ul Hasan; Zaabout, Abdelghafour; Cloete, Schalk Willem Petrus; Amini, Shahriar. Review of pressurized chemical looping processes for power generation and chemical production with integrated CO2 capture. Fuel processing technology 2021 ;Volum 214 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fuproc.2020.106684
Osman, Mogahid; Zaabout, Abdelghafour; Cloete, Schalk Willem Petrus; Amini, Shahriar. Internally circulating fluidized-bed reactor for syngas production using chemical looping reforming. Chemical Engineering Journal 2019 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cej.2018.10.013
Osman, Mogahid; Zaabout, Abdelghafour; Cloete, Schalk Willem Petrus; Amini, Shahriar. Mapping the operating performance of a novel internally circulating fluidized bed reactor applied to chemical looping combustion. Fuel processing technology 2020 ;Volum 197. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fuproc.2019.106183
Osman, Mogahid; Zaabout, Abdelghafour; Cloete, Schalk Willem Petrus; Amini, Shahriar. Experimental demonstration of pressurized chemical looping combustion in an internally circulating reactor for power production with integrated CO2 capture. Chemical Engineering Journal 2020 ;Volum 401. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cej.2020.125974 This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/BY/4.0/).
Osman, Mogahid; Zaabout, Abdelghafour; Cloete, Schalk; Amini, Shahriar. Pressurized chemical looping methane reforming to syngas for efficient methanol production: experimental and process simulation study.