Scale Up of Slurry Bubble Reactors

Abstract : Bubble column reactors are finding increasing use in industrial practice. They are in particular appropriate to carry out highly exothermic reactions, such as methanol synthesis or Fischer-Tropsch synthesis of conversion of synthesis gas to liquid paraffins. Industrial process require important volumes of reactors, the reactor diameter can reach 10 m. To control the reaction temperature, internal heat-exchange tubes (vertical tubes) are inserted inside the reactor. This study deals with the effects of scale and the presence of internals on hydrodynamic characteristics, for scale-up purposes based on experiments in cold mockups. Our study shows that the liquid recirculation intensity depends strongly on the column diameter whereas the gas holdup is slightly affected. Two methods are proposed to predict scale effect on liquid velocity: an empirical correlation proposed in the literature and a phenomenological model. Internals guide liquid: the large scale recirculation increases but fluctuations of liquid velocity decrease. Therefore the mixing of liquid is significantly affected by the presence of internals and is not well described by the standard mono dimensional axial dispersion model. A two-dimensional model, taking into account a radially dependent axial velocity profile and both axial and radial dispersion, is therefore developed to describe the liquid mixing in a bubble column with internals.
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A. Forret, J. M. Schweitzer, T. Gauthier, R. Krishna, D. Schweich. Scale Up of Slurry Bubble Reactors. Oil & Gas Science and Technology - Revue d'IFP Energies nouvelles, Institut Français du Pétrole, 2006, 61 (3), pp.443-458. ⟨10.2516/ogst:2006044a⟩. ⟨hal-02005833⟩

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