Importance of spinel reaction kinetics in packed-bed chemical looping combustion using a CuO/Al2O3 oxygen carrier

M.A. San Pio, F. Sabatino, F. Gallucci, M. van Sint Annaland

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Chemical looping combustion is especially competitive for electrical power generation with integrated CO2 capture when it is operated at high temperatures (1000–1200 °C) and high pressures (15 bar or higher). For these demanding conditions, dynamically operated packed bed reactors have been proposed, providing a good alternative to fluidized bed technology. This work addresses the importance of including the formation and reduction kinetics of spinel compounds to proper predict the packed bed reactor performance by validating a pseudo-homogeneous packed-bed reactor model to describe the redox kinetics of a CuO/Al2O3 oxygen carrier with experiments in a lab-scale packed bed reactor setup. A grain model describing the reaction kinetics of all solid species, including both spinel compounds (CuAl2O4 and CuAlO2), was included in a particle model and used to develop correlations for the effectiveness factor as a function of the particle conversion in order to account for internal solids concentration profiles and mass transfer limitations. The particle effectiveness factors were subsequently included in the source terms of the component mass balances of the reactor model accounting for all the reactions of the spinel compounds. Cyclic experiments (oxidation with air and reduction with a H2-N2 mixture) have been carried out in a lab-scale packed bed reactor with a 12.5 wt% CuO/Al2O3 oxygen carrier at different temperatures ranging from 600 to 1000 °C. The experimental results are well described by the packed bed reactor model, only when including the developed particle effectiveness factors to fully account for the kinetics of the formation and reduction of the spinel compounds. The results confirm that it is neccesary to include a detailed description of the redox kinetics at the particle level to be able to accurately estimate the breakthrough time, cycle time, final amount of Cu present in the bed and the temperature rise in the reactor after reduction/oxidation reactions for packed-bed chemical looping combustion with a CuO/Al2O3 oxygen carrier.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1905-1916
Number of pages12
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2018


  • Chemical looping combustion
  • CO capture
  • Cu-based oxygen carriers
  • Pressure redox kinetics


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