MFiX Based Multi-Scale CFD Simulations of Biomass Fast Pyrolysis: a review

Liqiang Lu, Xi Gao*, Jean-François Dietiker, Mehrdad Shahnam, William A. Rogers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Multi-scale computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation bridges the gaps between particle and reactor scales in the modeling of biomass pyrolysis. Its accuracy depends on the coupling of sub-models in different scales. Recent progress includes (a) detailed kinetics with 32 reactions and 59 species; (b) efficient intra-particle models for thermally thick particles; (c) hybrid drag models for sand biomass and biochar; (d) convection heat transfer models for nonspherical particles; (e) shape-resolved models e.g., glued spheres and Superquadrics; (e) machine learning derived models. These sub-models are coupled with MFiX multi-scale CFD solvers: (1) coupling corrected 0-D intra-particle model with MFiX-CGP (coarse grained particle); (2) coupling 1-D intra-particle model with MFiX-PIC (particle in cell); (3) coupling 1-D intra-particle model with Superquadrics MFiX-DEM (discrete element model); (4) coupling 3-D intra-particle model with glued spheres MFiX-DEM. These solvers are validated against experiments and used in the simulation of pyrolysis reactors processing varied feedstocks.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalChemical Engineering Science
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Pyrolysis
  • Drag
  • Kinetics
  • Intra-particle
  • Non-spherical
  • CFD


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