Inderscience Publishers

The use of wire mesh reactors to characterise solid fuels and provide improved understanding of larger scale thermochemical processes

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Most reaction products from the pyrolysis and the early stages of gasification of solid fuels are chemically reactive. Secondary reactions between primary products and with heated fuel particles tend to affect the final product distributions. The extents and pathways of these secondary reactions are determined mostly by the heating rate and the size and shape of the reaction zone and of the sample itself. The wire-mesh reactor configuration discussed in this paper allows products to be separated from reactants and enables the rapid quenching of products, allowing suppression of secondary reactions. The design allows decoupling the experimental results from the nature of the experimental technique, providing a more accurate assessment of solid fuel behaviour than other available experimental designs. In its various configurations, the wire-mesh reactor configuration has provided new information that helps to further the understanding and improvement of pilot and commercial scale plant and has served as a valuable first stage in the development of new concepts. This paper presents an overview of the development of wire-mesh reactors, describing several diverse applications and offers some perspectives for ensuring the reliability of the data.

Keywords: wire-mesh reactors, WMRs, gasification, pyrolysis, fast heating, solid fuels, rapid quenching, thermochemical processes

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