Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is a powerful tool for the analysis and solution of fluid flows that may involve additional physics such as heat and mass transfer as well as reaction chemistry commonly encountered in refining and petrochemical processes. With the advancement of computer speed and CFD software in the past several decades, it has become a practical predictive tool for modeling large-scale industrial processes and equipments with complex geometry, allowing scientists and engineers to perform “numerical experiments” during different stages of research, development and engineering design. For example, regeneration of FCC catalysts in different types of regimes can be simulated using a detailed CFD model combined with the simplified reaction kinetics.
CFD results from such a model can help make data-driven decisions on the design and operating conditions for better process performance, improved energy efficiency and increased operating sustainability. This presentation gives a brief overview of different approaches to gas-particle CFD and visualizes flow patterns inside different FCC regenerator configurations. “Numerical tracer” studies demonstrate the differences in residence time distributions of both catalyst and gas phase in different regenerator types. The ideal reactor networks built to simulate the said residence time distributions are then combined with coke burn kinetics. Such a model shows the differences in coke combustion patterns inside the regenerator, demonstrates the effect of hardware upgrades on the regenerator performance, and ultimately serves as a design tool to assist process and equipment improvement efforts at Honeywell’s UOP.
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