0
Research Papers

Computational Fluid Dynamics and Particle Image Velocimetry Characterization of a Solar Cyclone Reactor

[+] Author and Article Information
Nesrin Ozalp

Mechanical Engineering Department,
Sustainable Energy Research Laboratory,
Texas A&M University at Qatar,
P.O. Box 23874 Doha, Qatar
e-mail: nesrin.ozalp@qatar.tamu.edu

Min-Hsiu Chien

e-mail: scottamm@neo.tamu.edu

Gerald Morrison

e-mail: gmorrison@tamu.edu
Mechanical Engineering Department,
Turbomachinery Laboratory,
Texas A&M University,
College Station, TX 77840

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Solar Energy Engineering. Manuscript received June 17, 2012; final manuscript received November 27, 2012; published online February 8, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Wojciech Lipinski.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 135(3), 031003 (Feb 08, 2013) (15 pages) Paper No: SOL-12-1157; doi: 10.1115/1.4023183 History: Received June 17, 2012; Revised November 27, 2012

Solar thermal cracking of methane produces two valuable products, hydrogen gas and solid carbon, both of which can be used as a fuel and as a commodity. During the course of this two-phase phenomenon, carbon particles tend to deposit on the solar reactor window, wall, and exit. When they accumulate at the reactor exit, the agglomeration of these particles completely blocks the exit. This problem has been the major issue preventing solar cracking reactors from running continuously. To address this problem, a cyclone solar reactor was designed to enhance the residence time and allow carbon particles to rotate in the reactor instead of moving towards the exit inlarge particle groups together. A prototype reactor was manufactured to test the concept, to better understand and explain the flow dynamics inside the solar cyclone reactor and to analyze the flow via particle image velocimetry (PIV). Advanced measurement and computational techniques were applied to build the prototype reactor. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis employing discrete phase model (DPM) was used to predict the particle transport phenomenadel (DPM), whereas PIV was applied for the experimental part of the work. To understand the flow evolution along the vortex line, several images in the axial direction along the vortex line were captured. The results showed that when the main flow was increased by 25%, the axial velocity components became larger. It was also observed that the vertical vortices along the vortex line showed stronger interaction with outward fluid in the core region. This implied that the horizontal twisting motion dominated the region due to the main flow, which could trap the particles in the reactor for a longer time. Furthermore, when the main flow was increased by 50%, the flow displayed a cyclone-dominated structure. During the velocity evolution along the vortex line, more vortices emerged between the wall region and core region, implying that the energy was transferred from order to disorder. In summary, by appropriate selection of parameters, the concept of an aero-shielded solar cyclone reactor can be an attractive option to overcome the problem of carbon particle deposition at the reactor walls and exit.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.

References

Ozalp, N., 2008, “Energy and Material Flow Models of Hydrogen Production in the U.S. Chemical Industry,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 33, pp. 5020–5034. [CrossRef]
Ozalp, N., Kogan, A., and Epstein, M., 2009, “Solar Decomposition of Fossil Fuels as an Option for Sustainability,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 34(2), pp. 710–720. [CrossRef]
Elizade, I., Rodriguez, M. A., and Ancheyta, J., 2009, “Application of Continuous Kinetic Lumping Modeling to Moderate Hydrocracking of Heavy Oil,” Appl. Catal., A, 365, pp. 237–242. [CrossRef]
Ancheyta, J., Rana, M. S., and Furimsky, E., 2005, “Hydroprocessing of Heavy Petroleum Feeds: Tutorial,” Catal. Today, 109, pp. 3–15. [CrossRef]
Castaneda, L. C., Munoz, J. A. D., and Ancheyta, J., 2011, “Comparison of Approaches to Determine Hydrogen Consumption During Catalytic Hydrotreating of Oil Fractions,” Fuel, 90(12), pp. 3593–3601. [CrossRef]
Rodat, S., Abanades, S., and Flamant, G., 2011, “Co-Production of Hydrogen and Carbon Black From Solar Thermal Methane Splitting in a Tubular Reactor Prototype,” Sol. Energy, 85(4), pp. 645–652. [CrossRef]
Maag, G., Rodat, S., Flamant, G., and Steinfeld, A., 2010, “Heat Transfer Model and Scale-Up of an Entrained-Flow Solar Reactor for the Thermal Decomposition of Methane,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 35(24), pp. 13232–13241. [CrossRef]
Muradov, N., Smith, F., Bockerman, G., and Scammon, K., 2009, “Thermocatalytic Decomposition of Natural Gas Over Plasma-Generated Carbon Aerosols for Sustainable Production of Hydrogen and Carbon,” Appl. Catal., A, 365(2), pp. 292–300. [CrossRef]
Dahl, J. K., Buechler, K. J., Weimer, A. W., Lewandowski, A., and Bingham, C., 2004, “Solar-Thermal Dissociation of Methane in a Fluid-Wall Aerosol Flow Reactor,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 29(7), pp. 725–736. [CrossRef]
Huang, C., Yao, W., T-Raissi, A., and Muradov, N., 2011, “Development of Efficient Photoreactors for Solar Hydrogen Production,” Sol. Energy, 85(1), pp. 19–27. [CrossRef]
Kogan, A., Israeli, M., and Alcobi, E., 2007, “Production of Hydrogen and Carbon by Solar Thermal Methane Splitting. IV. Preliminary Simulation of a Confined Tornado Flow Configuration by Computational Fluid Dynamics,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 32(18), pp. 4800–4810. [CrossRef]
Trommer, D., Hirsch, D., and Steinfeld, A., 2004, “Kinetic Investigation of the Thermal Decomposition of CH4 By Direct Irradiation of a Vortex-Flow Laden With Carbon Particles,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 29(6), pp. 627–633. [CrossRef]
Kogan, A., and Kogan, M., 2002, “The Tornado Flow Configuration—An Effective Method for Screening of a Solar Reactor Window,” ASME J. Sol. Energy Eng., 124, pp. 206–214. [CrossRef]
Hirsch, D., and Steinfield, A., 2004, “Solar Hydrogen Production by Thermal Decomposition of Natural Gas Using a Vortex-Flow Reactor,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 29, pp. 47–55. [CrossRef]
Ozalp, N., and Jayakrishna, D., 2010, “CFD Analysis of Multi-Phase Turbulent Flow in a Solar Reactor for Emission-Free Generation of Hydrogen,” Chem. Eng. Trans., 21, pp. 1081–1086. [CrossRef]
Ozalp, N., and Jayakrishna, D., 2010, “CFD Analysis on the Influence of Helical Carving in a Vortex Flow Reactor,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 35, pp. 6248–6260. [CrossRef]
Kogan, A., Kogan, M., and Barak, S., 2004, “Production of Hydrogen and Carbon by Solar Thermal Methane Splitting. II. Room Temperature Simulation Tests of Seeded Solar Reactor,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 29, pp. 1227–1236. [CrossRef]
Ozalp, N., and Kanjirakat, A., 2010, “Lagrangian Characterization of Multi-Phase Turbulent Flow in a Solar Reactor for Particle Deposition Prediction,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 35, pp. 4496–4509. [CrossRef]
Ozalp, N., 2011, “An Overview of Solar Thermal Cracking of Natural Gas: Challenges and Solutions Towards Commercialization,” 8th International Conference on Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics, and Thermodynamics (HEFAT 2011), Republic of Mauritius, July 11–13, Paper No. 1569441867.
Shilapuram, V., Jayakrishna, D., and Ozalp, N., 2011, “Residence Time Distribution Analysis of Aero-Shielded Solar Cyclone Reactor for Emission-Free Generation of Hydrogen,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 36, pp. 13488–13500. [CrossRef]
Keane, R. D., and Adrian, R. J., 1991, “Optimization of Particle Image Velocimetry: II. Multiple Pulsed Systems,” Meas. Sci. Technol., 2, pp. 963–974. [CrossRef]
Adrian, R. J., 1997, “Dynamic Ranges of Velocity and Spatial Resolution of Particle Image Velocimetry,” Meas. Sci. Technol., 8, pp. 1393–1398. [CrossRef]
Hart, D. P., 1998, “PIV Error Correction, Experiments in Fluids,” 9th International Symposium on Applications of Laser Techniques to Fluid Mechanics, Lisbon, Portugal, July 13–16.
Nishio, S., 2008, “Uncertainty Analysis and Example for PIV Measurements,” Proceedings of 25th International Towing Tank Conference (ITTC), Fukuoka, Japan, September 14–20.

Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Pathlines of the solar cyclone reactor with different wall screening flows (a) hydrogen and (b) argon

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Solar cyclone reactor with aero-shielded wall screening flow (a) top view and (b) front view [20]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Solar cyclone reactor with guided vanes

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Isometric view of the aero-shielded solar cyclone reactor [19]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Aero-shield on the solar reactor walls [19]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

One of the first solar cyclone reactor design concepts housing a successful cyclone in the center [15]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Natural gas entry and product movement inside a solar reactor

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Temperature contours of the solar cyclone reactor with different wall screening gas (a) hydrogen and (b) argon

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

Contours of carbon mole fraction with different wall screening gas (a) hydrogen and (b) argon

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Vortex flow inside the solar reactor [19]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 15

Averaged magnitude contours of axial velocity and corresponding vortices on light sheet planes deviated from the aligned plane by: (a) 0 mm (aligned), (b) 12.7 mm, and (c) 25.4 mm

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 16

Averaged magnitude contours of axial velocity (m/s) and corresponding vortices, according to different main flow rate with respect to CFD settings: (a) 50%, (b) 75%, (c) 125%, and (d) 150%

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 11

Schematic of flow control system

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 12

Experimental setup of PIV

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 17

Averaged magnitude contours of axial velocity and corresponding vortices according to different wall screen flow rate with respect to CFD settings: (a) 50%, (b) 75%, (c) 125%, and (d) 150%

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 13

Geometry of solar reactor (a) cross-sectional view, (b) internal channels of three inlet flows, and (c) top view of reactor

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 14

Light distortion across cylinder wall

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 18

Magnitude contours of tangential velocity and corresponding vortices, according to different main flow rate with respect to CFD settings: (a) 50%, (b) 75%, (c) 100% (CFD settings), (d) 125%, and (e) 150%

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 19

(a)–(c) Velocity distributions across radius according to different main flow rate. (d) Weighted velocity. (e) Normalized swirl number integrated from Fig. 19(c).

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 20

Stream line distribution of PIV image

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 21

Axial evolution of flow field, (a) capture cross sectional planes, (b) tangential velocities distribution versus radius corresponding to cross sectional planes

Tables

Errata

Discussions

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In