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Multiphase Simulation of a Commercial Fluidized Catalytic Cracking Regenerator

A multiphase, thermal, and chemically reacting simulation of a commercial Fluidized Catalytic Cracking (FCC) regenerator was conducted. The simulation was fullscale, 3-dimensional, and included complex internal structures. The computational method used was an Eulerian-Lagrangian approach called MP-PIC (multi-phase particle-in-cell). Barracuda® VRTM, a commercially available CFD software package, was used to perform the simulation. Discrete particle-level chemistry was applied for the chemical reactions of coke burn-off from the catalyst particles.

The simulation had several goals, including: (1) gain insight into the performance of the unit regarding effectiveness of coke combustion from the spent catalyst particles; (2) predict the severity of afterburn in the freeboard, and understand its causes; (3) predict the production rates of pollutants such as SOx from the regenerator; and (4) identify any maldistribution of particles or gas from the highly complex spent catalyst distributor. Results of the simulation are presented, including particle-fluid flow behavior, thermal profiles throughout the vessel, and gas compositions exiting the system.

A comparison of actual operations with the simulation results will be presented to demonstrate the predictive capability of the computational model.