Experimental and Computational Study of the Hydrodynamics of Trickle Bed Flow Reactor Operating Under Different Pressure Conditions

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Shahid Rabbani, Imen Ben Salem, Humair Nadeem, Jundika C Kurnia, Tariq Shamim and Mohamed Sassi, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Pressure drop estimation and prediction of liquid holdup play a crucial role in design and operation of trickle bed reactors. Experiments are performed for Light Gas Oil (LGO)-nitrogen system in ambient temperature conditions in an industrial pilot plant with reactor height 0.79 m and diameter of 0.0183 m and pressure ranging from atmospheric to 10 bars. It was found that pressure drop increased with increase in system pressure, superficial gas velocity and superficial liquid velocity.

It was demonstrated in the experiments that liquid holdup of the system increases with the increase in superficial liquid velocity and tends to decrease with increase in superficial gas velocity which is in good agreement with existing literature. Similar conditions were also simulated using CFD-software FLUENT. The Volume of Fluid (VoF) technique was employed in combination with “discrete particle approach” and results were compared with that of experiments. The overall pressure drop results were compared with the different available models and a new comprehensive model was proposed to predict the pressure drop in Trickle Bed Flow Reactor.