Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology

, Volume 114, Issue 1–3, pp 733–745 | Cite as

Computational fluid dynamics simulation and redesign of a screw conveyor reactor

Session 3—Bioprocessing, Including Separations


National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) designed a shrinking-bed reactor to maintain a constant bulk packing density of cellulosic biomass. The high solid-to-liquid ratio in the pretreatment process allows a high sugar yield and avoids the need to flush large volumes of solution through the reactor. To scale up the shrinking-bed reactor, NREL investigated a pilot-scale screw conveyor reactor in which an interrupted flight between screws was employed to mimic the “shrinking-bed” effect. In the experiments with the screw conveyor reactor, overmixing and uneven flow occurred. These phenomena produce negative effects on biomass hydrolysis. The flow behavior inside the reactor was analyzed to allow redesign of the screw to achieve adequate mixing and even flow. In the present study, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) was utilized to simulate the fluid flow in the porous media, and a new screw design was proposed. CFD analysis performed on the redesigned reactor indicated that an even flow pattern was achieved.

Index Entries

Screw reactor computational fluid dynamics modeling backflow hydrolysis 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of LouisvilleLouisville
  2. 2.Office of the ProvostAuburn UniversityAuburn

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