Determining Design Criteria for Feeding Biomass into a Fluidized Bed Using a Feed Screw

Research output: NRELPresentation


Many pathways have been discovered for the thermochemical conversion of biomass to products. These pathways often show very promising results on the benchtop scale and could be economical with the appropriate scale up. However, many of the fundamental challenges of scaling up thermochemical reactions are not well understood. One primary problem area that rarely receives much upfront attention is feeding large quantities of biomass into thermochemical reactors. As biomass transitions from ambient to reactor conditions, it undergoes chemical and physical changes that affect its flowability. Often these changes lead to agglomeration of feed particles within the transfer screw, leading to large clumps of feed entering and disrupting the fluidized bed, or more critically leading to a plug in the feed screw causing costly downtime and maintenance to remove. This transitional phase must be better understood for scale up of conversion technologies to be successful. The Feedstock-Conversion Interface Consortium (FCIC) is a collaboration of eight National Laboratories. FCIC is currently conducting research on screw feeding of biomass into thermochemical fluidized bed reactors. Heat transfer models have been constructed for the screw/reactor interface. Mechanical forces on biomass within screw feeder are being determined, as well as how those forces change by varying feed screw design. Feedstock physical and chemical properties are then being measured along these temperature and mechanical force gradients. This work will better inform feed screw design for scale up, increasing the success rate of future biorefineries. Discussion will include research approach, testing, and preliminary results.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages19
StatePublished - 2019

Publication series

NamePresented at the tcbiomassplus2019, 7-9 October 2019, Rosemont, Illinois

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5100-75197


  • biomass
  • feed screw feeder
  • Feedstock-Conversion Interface Consortium
  • maintenance
  • thermochemical fluidized bed reactors


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