Experimental Hydrodynamic Study of Gas‐Particle Dense Suspension Upward Flow for Application as New Heat Transfer and Storage Fluid

Abstract : This paper focuses on a new concept of Heat Transfer Fluid (HTF) for Concentrating Solar Plants (CSP) applications through fluidized bed. CSP plants with very high concentration (such as solar tower plant technology) offer good efficiencies because of high operating temperatures. CSP efficiency could be greatly increased through more efficient HTF. Molten salts, mineral oils, water and air have some of the following drawbacks: limited range of operating temperatures, corrosiveness, high pressure, low energy storage capacity and toxicity. To replace classical HTF, Dense Particle Suspension (DPS) fluidized with air (approximately 40% of solid) is proposed. DPS has a volume heat capacity similar to those of liquid HTF, does not need pressurization, is safe, inert and is only limited by the maximal working temperature of the receiver material (1100 K), thus opening new opportunities for high efficiency thermodynamic cycles. This work is the hydrodynamic study of a gassolid dense suspension upward flow at ambient temperature, in a vertical 2‐tube bundle of small diameter tubes, which have their bottom immersed in a slightly pressurized fluidized bed (pressure approximately equal to the ratio of the solid weight in a tube over its cross section area). This type of flow is yet implemented in the field of hyper‐dense phase vertical conveying of powders and it is currently under development for solar receivers using dense suspensions of particles as heat transfer and storage medium. This application was patented by Flamant and Hemati in 2010 (France 1058565 (2010) CNRS/INP Toulouse, G. Flamant, H. Hemati; PCT Extension, No. WO 2012/052661 A2), and its development is funded by the European Commission. In this technological breakthrough, the concentrated solar energy is collected, carried and stored directly by the fine particles flowing upward, with a suspension void fraction close to that of a dense fluidized bed. Contrary to circulating fluidized bed “risers”, it offers a good contact area between the wall and the particles. The important hydrodynamic and thermal coupling required a step‐by‐step approach. Ambient flows had to be understood and controlled first. Thus a 2‐pass “cold” mock‐up, each pass composed of two vertical parallel tubes, was built. Pressure drop, solid weight and helium volume fraction measurements demonstrated the ability to handle a regular solid upward flow (imperative here), with solid flow rates from 20 to 130 kg/h, with void fractions from 0.57 to 0.63 and with an even distribution of the solid flow rate between the tubes. Moreover, the governing parameters of this flow were established as: the solid feeding flow rate, the fluidization velocity, the solid holdup, the freeboard pressure and the aeration velocity. The secondary air injection, also called “aeration”, is the most important parameter for the stability and the even distribution of the total solid flow rate in the tubes. The 1D modelling of the suspension flow in the tubes was also performed in the flow direction. The flow structure was described using the bubble‐emulsion model formalism, and by adding the solid entrainment by the bubble wake. Predictions of the model are compared with the experimental measurements of driving pressure and axial pressure profile along the tubes.
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Benjamin Boissière, Renaud Ansart, Daniel Gauthier, Gilles Flamant, Mehrdji Hemati. Experimental Hydrodynamic Study of Gas‐Particle Dense Suspension Upward Flow for Application as New Heat Transfer and Storage Fluid. Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, Wiley, 2014, pp. 1-14. ⟨10.1002/cjce.22087⟩. ⟨hal-01101789⟩

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