Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)


Mechanical Engineering

Document Type



The thesis provides data needed for development of a conical spouted bed (CSB) reactor for the purpose of producing hydrogen rich synthesis gas (syngas). The syngas has potential to utilize energy more efficiently, eliminate pollutant emissions and significantly cut emissions of greenhouse gases. The development of CSB reactor system involves three phases. The first phase investigates the hydrodynamic behavior of a small, laboratory scale, conical spouted bed (CSB) by considering the effect of specific system parameters (stagnated bed height, particle size and inlet diameter) on minimum spouting velocity (ums)o, stable operating pressure drop (∆Pms) and maximum pressure drop (∆PM). Experimental results show fair agreement with correlations for (ums)o available in existing literature. Using experimental data, an alternative correlation for minimum spouting velocity is developed. Improvements of prediction quality are attributed to the inclusion of an additional non-dimensional geometry parameter relating particle diameter to inlet diameter, which is absent from most, previously published correlations. The second phase involves an experimental assessment of multiple propane reforming pathways: dry reforming (DR), partial oxidation (POX), steam reforming (SR) and auto-thermal reforming (ATR). The selection of operating conditions for experiments -- reactants feed ratio, pressure and temperature -- is guided by results from thermodynamic equilibrium. In experiments, the propane conversion efficiency increases with temperature and 100% efficiency is achieved mostly at 1000°C. The propane conversion efficiency for homogeneous ATR process always appears higher than DR, POX and SR which is in agreement with thermodynamic equilibrium analysis. The thermodynamic equilibrium predictions and experimental results for homogeneous fuel reforming suggest that the hydrogen production efficiency for homogeneous ATR is higher than DR, POX and SR. The hydrogen production efficiency is higher in thermodynamic equilibrium as compared to experiments for homogeneous DR, POX, SR and ATR. This difference is due to the formation of small hydrocarbon species such as acetylene and ethane in actual tests whereas negligible amount of them appeared in thermodynamic equilibrium. The third phase of CSB reactor facility eventually involves construction of a bench top laboratory scale CSB for the follow-up research where similar tests are required to perform.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Devireddy, Ramachandra