Design of an integrated dryer and conveyor belt for woody biofuels
Journal article, 2015
Combustion or gasification of high-moisture content biomass is associated with a number of drawbacks, such as operational instabilities and lowered total efficiency. The present work proposes an integrated dryer and conveyor belt for woody biofuels with steam as the heat transfer medium. The use of low-temperature steam is favorable from a heat management point of view, but also helps to minimize the risk of fire, self-ignition and dust explosions. Furthermore, the presented dryer design represents an efficient combination of fuel transport, drying equipment and fuel feeding system.
The proposed design is developed from a macroscopic energy and mass balance model that uses results from computational fluid dynamics (CFD) fuel bed modeling and experiments as its input. This CFD simulation setup can be further used to optimize the design with respect to bed height, steam injection temperatures and fuel type. The macroscopic model can be used to investigate the integration of the dryer within a larger biomass plant. Such a case study is also presented, where the dryer is tailored for integration within an indirect steam gasification system. It is found that the exergy efficiency of this dryer is 52.9%, which is considerably higher than those of other dryers using air or steam, making the proposed drying technology a very competitive choice for operation with indirect steam gasification units.