Hydrodynamic behavior of packed-bed reactors on a floating platform : liquid distribution and drainage dynamics

Authors: Zhang, Jian
Advisor: Larachi, Faïcal; Taghavi, Seyed Mohammad
Abstract: To fill the gap between increasing energy demand and depletion of onshore hydrocarbon production, offshore hydrocarbon exploitation is increasingly contemplated especially the gas/oil fields in the deeper water. Meantime, large amount of deployed processing units for hydrocarbon productions must comply with the environmental codes designated for maritime protection. Systems such as embarked packed-bed reactors and scrubbers inevitably become one of the most promising options to achieve both purposes. Numerous efforts in literature to unveil the hydrodynamics of multiphase flow in packed beds reveal that challenges persist either in their design/scale-up or during the operations. Moreover, exposing these reactors to harsh marine conditions such as the convolution of ship dynamics and hydrodynamics inside packed-bed reactors leads to even more complex situations to maintain the proper operation performance of packed-bed reactors under floating conditions. A lot of evidence from literature has pointed out the failure of random and structured packings and open-cell foams, to prevent liquid maldistribution in packed beds destined to operate on-board sailing ships and floating platforms. Research efforts must therefore continue in the quest for robust internals capable of resilience against liquid maldistribution in gas-liquid reactors/separation units. The proposed Ph.D. research aims at firstly following a sound path to adapt commercially existing internals being capable of preserving performance similar to landbased packed beds. To the best of literature exploring, the sensitivity and susceptibility of monolith reactors to maldistribution subjected to offshore conditions have yet to be investigated. Rather than focusing on a study of monolith beds alone, Chapter 1 opts for a broader experimental campaign including a random packing and an open-cell foam packing for the sake of systematic comparisons of the liquid distribution under floating conditions. Liquid distribution of embarked columns packed with various internals under wide gas/liquid flow range is systematically compared with the assistance of wire mesh sensor (WMS) and six-degree-of-freedom emulator hexapod. Severe offshore weather conditions threaten the operation safety of floating packed beds especially encountering extreme situations such as cyclone, iceberg episodes and so forth. To ensure the safety of staff and facilities, the onboard packed columns must be immediately shutdown to avoid critical safety concerns under such circumstances. Therefore, knowledgebase of liquid draining dynamics in floating packed beds is the essence to ensure timely discharge of liquid. Nevertheless, the study regarding liquid drainage dynamics of packed beds under floating conditions is scarce to say the least. Then, Chapter 2 compares liquid draining of packed columns embarking on floating platforms with static land-based one experimentally. Other than that, the influence of ship motions (e.g., roll, roll & pitch, heave etc.) with different oscillation amplitudes and periods on liquid draining dynamics is investigated to deepen the insights. vi In parallel with the experimental study, a 3D transient Euler-Euler CFD model is employed as a supplementary analysis to further deepen the understanding of liquid drainage dynamics in floating packed beds. More factors possibly affecting the draining dynamics are exploited by numerical simulation. Consequently, Chapter 3 highlights the comprehensive influence of liquid properties, bed structure and moving types instead of focusing on impact of movements alone. Meanwhile, with sufficient body of experimental campaign, the validity and accuracy of model are strongly endorsed.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2021
Open Access Date: 29 March 2021
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/68634
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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