CFD mixing simulations of rice straw and sand in a spouted bed reactor
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Spouted bed reactors are suitable for the thermochemical conversion of agricultural residues, because they can process irregular solid particles with low segregation phenomena. In this work, we took into account experiments performed in a cold-flow lab-scale spouted bed regarding the mixing of sand and rice straw particles. We reproduced these experiments with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations, employing the Discrete Element Method (DEM) for the solid phases. Different approaches regarding the use of parcels were tested, to assess their influence on the computational feasibility and the accuracy of the results. The results confirmed the influence of parcels in the studied approaches. The simulations offered a valuable insight on the behaviour of such heterogeneous mixtures in spouted beds, with typical patterns correctly reproduced. However, this simulation methodology clearly needs further efforts before it can properly describe the behaviour of coarse and non-spherical biomass particles.