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Experimental and numerical investigation of air flow through the distributor plate in a laboratory-scale model of a bubbling fluidized bed boiler

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In fluidized bed boilers, the distributor plate is a perforated metal plate which forms the bottom of the combustion chamber and separates it from the windbox. It prevents the fluidized granular material from falling through. At the same time, it allows an even distribution of the fluidization air which flows through the small holes. In this contribution, we consider an experimental model of the fluidized bed boiler and study the dependence of pressure drop at the distributor plate on the air flow rate. Numerical simulations of turbulent flow through the detailed three-dimensional geometry of the device are compared to experimental measurements. Two different simulation tools are used: our in-house high performance GPU solver based on the lattice Boltzmann method (LBM) and the ANSYS Fluent CFD software based on the finite volume method (FVM). The accuracy of both methods is strongly dependent on the mesh/lattice resolution inside (and in the vicinity of) the small holes of the distributor plate. When similar resolutions are used, FVM provides more accurate results than the original LBM scheme. However, the accuracy of LBM can be significantly improved by changing the parameters of the collision model so that it outperforms FVM. A simple convergence study of all involved numerical methods indicates improvement of the results with mesh/lattice refinement. In addition, LBM uses a structured lattice with the same resolution in the whole domain, which allows it to provide a detailed information on the non-uniformity of the velocity field above the distributor plate. The obtained results can be utilized to design a simplified model of the distributor plate for the purpose of complex CFD simulations of multiphase flow and combustion in fluidized bed boilers.

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This work was supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic under the OP RDE grant number CZ.02.1.01/0.0 /0.0/16_019/0000753 “Research centre for low-carbon energy technologies”.

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Correspondence to Pavel Strachota.

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Beneš, M., Eichler, P., Fučík, R. et al. Experimental and numerical investigation of air flow through the distributor plate in a laboratory-scale model of a bubbling fluidized bed boiler. Japan J. Indust. Appl. Math. 39, 943–958 (2022).

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