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I am grateful to all those who have contributed to this seminar with suggestions,
criticisms and information. As an amateur in this topic, I am especially indebted to those
who have readily responded to my appeals for expert guidance.

I am thankful to Shri . V.P. Sukumaran Nair, Professor and head of Mechanical

Engineering Department, for providing facilities to present this seminar.

I also thank our staff in charge, Shri . John Thomas. E, Sr.Scale Lecturer, Department of
Mechanical Engineering and seminar guide, Shri. V. Gopinathan , Asst. Professor,
Department of Mechanical engineering for their inspiration and help throughout the
course of my seminar.


The advantages of coal gasification and a little idea about coal gasification is
discussed. Moving bed, fluidized bed and entrained bed gasifiers are some of the
gasifiers. spouted bed gasifier is a distinct method of contacting solid and fluids. An
experiment is conducted in a spouted bed gasifier with coal of free swelling index 0, 4
and 7 are tested. Gases of heating value up to 3.61 MJ/m3 were produced at atmospheric
pressure and temperatures to 9300 C. Characteristics of spouted bed gasifiers are
presented. Applications and modifications are included.
Coal Gasification in a Spouted Bed Seminar Report - 2003


We know that coal is a solid fuel. Coal is a major energy source in India. There are some
disadvantages in using solid fuel for combustion. We can overcome these disadvantages
by converting coal to combustible gas.

Advantages of gaseous fuels over solid fuels are :

1. it is easy to control the length and nature of flame i.e. temperature control is
2. Gaseous fuels burn completely. So it does not contain ash. Therefore no ash
removal is required and hence economical.
3. Gaseous fuel can easily piped into furnace. So handling is easy.
4. lesser amount of excess air is needed to burn them completely.
5. Greater cleanliness assured, as the smoke is practically nil.
6. Converting coal to combustible gas has been practiced commercially since
early in the nineteenth century.

Coal and Coal Gas

Coal is a general term for a number of solid blackish organic fossil minerals with widely
differing compositions and properties. Coal is essentially rich in amorphous carbon i.e.
carbon without regular structure. Coal contains several liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons.
Coal mainly contains carbon , hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen.

Different types of Coals are :-

1) Antracite 2) Semi Antracite
3) Bituminous Coal 4) Subbituminous Coal
5) Lignite 6) Peat
Coal gas is byproduct obtained during the destructive distribution of coal. Coal gas
mainly contains carbon monoxide, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, methane.
Coal Gasification in a Spouted Bed Seminar Report - 2003

Coal Gasification
Coal gasification involves chemical reaction of coal, steam and air or oxygen at
high temperature to produce a mixture of hydrocarbon gases typically carbon monoxide,
carbon dioxide, hydrogen, methane also hydrogen sulphide. Gasifier is the equipment
which converts coal to coal gas. Three types of gasifiers are 1) Moving bed 2) Fluidised
bed 3) Entrained bed systems Each reactor characteristic feed size, mixing behaviour,
reaction temperature etc. The fluidized bed gasifier has a relatively uniform bed
temperature due to its good mixing characteristics and produces low tar gas. However the
gas may b high in dust. Moving bed produces gases high in tars and low in dust. Non
uniformity of flow and temperature may give control problems. Output may be low, but
gas is generally of higher calorific value than fluidized bed. Entrained bed can operate
with a wide variety of finely crushed coals to produce a gas that is low in tar and high in
The spouted bed gasifier may be expected to combine same properties of above 3
since the annulus is a slowly moving bed while the cyclic motion of the particles through
the spout and fountain ensures good mixing. The feed size may be slightly larger than
that of a fluidized bed and fines could be easily handled since the spout region is much
like an entrained bed gasifier. The quality of coal to be treated dictates certain
characteristics of gasifier to defluidisation. Spouted bed can deal with this problem
because of the high relative velocity.
Coal Gasification in a Spouted Bed Seminar Report -2003

The definition of a spouted bed here is any cylindrical vessel filled with particles,
provided with a small centrally located aperture in its base which allows a jet of fluid to
enter. The high fluid velocity causes a stream of particles to rise forming a hollow central
core (spout)and fountain of variable height above the peripheral bed level. The particles
rain back into the annular region between the spout and the wall and tries to exist where
the spouted bed was. Hence a cyclic motion of the bed particles is formed. In earlier
studies of spouted beds the particles of uniform density and narrow size are generally
used. Recent works indicate that large and heavy particles are more suit for the spouted
bed. Then caking coals are tried to gasify in a spouted bed. On heating, caking coals
tended to swell and become sticky causing agglomeration which led to defluidisation.
Spouted bed can deal with this problem because of the high relative velocity.

The figure represents an experimental set up of spouted bed coal gasifier. The objective
of the work is to asses the feasibility of the spouted bed as coal gasifier, particularly for
the gasification of highly caking varieties with swelling index 0,4 and 7.A premix
propane burner with a refractory lined combustion chamber for use is mounted below the
gas inlet orifice of the spouted bed to prevent solids from dropping into the combustion
chamber. Stream for the gasification and nitrogen for quenching the bed are introduced
below the screen. The spouted bed reactor is 150mm diameter x 1 m high with 60 0 conical
base and a 19.1 mm diameter orifice. The column is fitted with quartz viewing ports for
visual observation of the bed, a rupture disc for safety and several solids discharge ports.
Temperature at various points in the bed are measured by thermocouples. The pressure
above the bed is also measured using pressure gauge. Gas from the reactor
Coal Gasification in a Spouted Bed Seminar Report -2003

is collected in cyclone after remaining the ash, cooled and scrubbed by contact with water
and incinerated.

To start a run, the bed is first charged with a known weight of inert silica particles
having a size range of 1.2-3.4mm. The silica serves as an inert bed of near optimum size
for uniform stable spouting. It helps to keep bed temperature uniform, and disperses the
coal particles fed into the top of the reactor. The bed is preheated to about 700 0C using
the propane burner before spouting is started with air. Coal and steam are then added.
Coal combustion and gasification takes place at temperatures between 7500 C and 9300C.
The desired temperature is achieved by controlling the amount of excess air leaving
burner and flow rate of steam and coal. Coal is reacted with carbon containing ash and if
eliminates that out of bed and is collected by cyclone. Calorific values were calculated
using dry gas composition. The composition of bed is measured to determine the relative
amounts of silica, carbonaceous material and ash. If more, coal is fed in to that can be
reacted the bed may collapse to bed height increase until the maximum spoutable depth is
exceeded or agglomeration takes palce in case of caking coal.


Results are reported mainly of three types of coal. Forest Burg Coal, Sukunka
Coal, Coleman Coal are three types of coals. Coal size range is 1.2-3.4 mm for most of
the tests. The operating parameters investigated are reaction temperature (1020-1229),
Coal feed rate ( 9-12 Kg /h), steam injection rate (2-5 Kg/h). Coal feed rate and
temperature were found to be the most important variables governing gas quality. Bed
depth range is 0-25-0.6 m. As the bed depth increased , the minimum spouting velocities
become higher. The product gas were collected at an efficiency of 60-80% in cyclones.
Carbon content of the output was about 405. No attempt was made to recycle this
material to the bed. No ash build up in the bed was experienced. The initial tests have
shown that although the gas produced is not of particularly high heating value, caking
coals can be gasified in a spouted bed without pre treatments. A discussion of the effect of
individual variables is given below. With the complex reactions that occur in a gasifier, it
is impossible to change one variable without affecting another, so the interpretation of
results become difficult.
Coal Gasification in a Spouted Bed Seminar Report - 2003

Effect of reaction temperature

The reaction temperature is expected to be one of the most important operating variables
affecting the performance of the gasifier as the main gasification reactions H 2O-C and
CO2-C are endothermic. Hence the reaction temperature should be at the highest tolerable
level. If the temperature is low, undesirable gases such as NOx will be formed. The graph
shows that proper gasification was obtained at lower average bed temperatures. Between
7900 & 9300 C, gas heating values were found to be quite similar. Forest Burg Coal have
slightly better results at higher temperatures, gas composition of Forest Burg coal shows
an increase in hydrogen and carbon monoxide at higher temperatures although the results
are scattered. Sukunka Coal showed a strong temperature dependence up to about 9000 C.
Coal Gasification in a Spouted Bed Seminar Report - 2003

Effect of coal rate

The feed rate of coal was found to be most critical in deciding the smoothness of a
run when caking coal was used. As shown in the Calorific value Vs Coal feed rate graph,
the rapid increase in gas calorific value was limited up to 13 Kg/hr for Forest Burg Coal
the feed rate also has effect on the composition of gases. The percentage of CO & H 2
increase proportionately to coal feed rate.

Effect of particle size and bed heights
Better quality gas was produced with larger size of coal. The following table
shows that increasing particle size results an increase in gas calorific value. Bed heights
were varied between 0.25m 0.6m. At higher bed heights, the bed operates more
smoothly than at lower heights. However, there is no marked changes were observed
when bed heights was increased from 0-38-0.6m.


1) In chemical process
a) Low temperature coal carbonization
low temperature carbonization of coal is the process which involves evolution of
volatile matter from coal to form coke. Either fluidized beds were used for low
temperature carbonisation of coal. But there was a caking problem in then oven when this
is applied. So later spouted beds were introduced for coal carbonisation Which decreases
the caking tendency. Also high velocity spout breaks up any agglomerates as soon as
soon as they were formed.

b) Charcoal activation
Spouted bed is also applied for the production of activated carbon. The
development of spouted bed furnace for the production of activated carbon is now used in
industries. Spouted bed is preferred to fluidised bed due to following reasons.
1) Usually a coarse granular product is required.
2) To avoid operational difficulties associated with using distributor plate in a
fluidized bed.
2) In physical Process
a) Drying of granular solids
The most popular application of spouted beds has been dryings of coarse, heat
sensitive granular solids. In spouted bed there is a wide temperature gap between hot air
and the bed. This is the most important advantage of spouted bed over other dryers,

Coal Gasification in a Spouted Bed Seminar Report 2003

because in which low temperature gap, air temperature must be kept low to avoid
thermal damage of particles. Spouted bed occupies less space.

3) Thermal applications
a) Heating of solids
The well stirred nature of bed permits use of high hot gas temperature without
thermal damage of particles. Thus pre heating of caking coal is possible in spouted
b) Cooling of solids
The design of large capacity cooler based on spouting principle has been developed
for cooling granular fertilizers.

4) Mechanical Application
Solids blending
The spouting technique has proved successful for blending of solids. The blending
operation is carried out on batch use. This techniques is applied when mechanical
blending became complex due to high power input. The power consumption for spouted
bed blending is always less than mechanical blending.


a) Draft tube spouted bed
In spouted bed in order to avoid the flow of particles from annulus to the spout,
we use a draft tube. Draft tube inserted in spouted bed provides a mean for controlling
the spread of particles. At the same time the main disadvantage behind the application of
draft tube is 1) It reduces mixing of particles 2) Design becomes more complex.

Coal Gasification in Spouted Bed Seminar Report 2003

Other modifications of spouted bed are :-

a) Jet spouted bed
b) Slotted two dimensional spouted bed
c) Swirled spouted bed
d) mechanical conveyer spouted bed
Coal Gasification in a Spouted bed Seminar Report 2003


Tests with Three Canadian coals of free swelling indexes of 0,4 and 7 can be gasified
in a spouted bed of inerts. Gases produced jn a 0.15 m diameter had Calorific value
upto 3.6 MJ/m3. The effects of several operating parameters are discussed. Gas
quality of the spouted bed gasifier looked promising, but it is not good as fluidized
and moving bed which are fully developed processes. But spouted beds are useful to
gasify caking coals. The efficiency of a spouted bed can increase with the help of a
draft tube.
Coal Gasification in Spouted Bed Seminar Report 2003


1. The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, Vol. 58, February 1980

2. G.R. Nagpal , Power plant engineering
3. http:/