The present numerical study in FLUENT analyzes the fluid flow field within a solar powered reactor designed for syngas production. The thermochemical reactor is based on continuous cycling of cerium oxide (ceria) in a non-stoichiometric reduction/oxidation cycle. The reactor uses a hollow cylinder of porous ceria which rotates through a high-temperature zone, by exposure to concentrated sunlight and partially reduced in an inert atmosphere due to flow of the sweep gas (N2), and then through a lower temperature zone where the reduced ceria is re-oxidized with a flow of CO2 and/or H2O, to produce CO and/or H2. In terms of fluid flow modeling, the issue of crossover of species (leakage) within the reactor is critical for proper functioning of the reactor. The first part of the work relates to the geometry and placement of the inlet/outlet gas channels for the reactor optimized to minimize crossover of the species. This is done by conducting a parametric study of geometric variables associated with the inlet/outlet geometry. A simplified 2D fluid flow reactor model which incorporates multi-species flow is used for this study. Further, 2D and 3D reactor models which capture the internal structure more accurately are used to refine the inlet/outlet design. The optimized reactor model is found to have an O2 crossover of 2%-6% and oxidizer crossover of 8%-21% at different flow rates of the sweep gas and the oxidizer studied.In the second part of the work, the reactor model is simulated under varying test conditions. Different working conditions include morphologies of the reactive material, rotational speed of the ceria ring and the recuperator, flow rates of sweep gas and the oxidizer, types of oxidizer (CO2, H2O). The 3D reactor model is also tested using one, two and three discrete inlet/outlet ports and compared with slot configuration
University of Minnesota M.S. thesis. February 2014. Major: Mechanical Engineering. Advisor: Jane H. Davidson. i computer file (PDF); x, 104 pages, appendices A-D.
Fluid modeling and design of gas channels of solar non-stoichiometric redox reactor.
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