Agitation Equipment is the key to many heat and mass transfer operations that rely on mixing. Process requirements vary widely, some applications requiring homogenization at near molecular level while other objectives can be met as long as large scale convective flows sweep through the whole vessel volume. Performance is crucially affected both by the nature of the fluids concerned and on how quickly the mixing or dispersion operation must be completed. For these reasons a wide variety of agitation devices have been developed.
Dry dilute acid pretreatment at extremely high solids loading of lignocellulose materials demonstrated promising advantages of no waste water generation, less sugar loss, and low steam consumption while maintaining high hydrolysis yield. However, the routine pretreatment reactor without mixing apparatus was found not suitable for dry pretreatment operation because of poor mixing and mass transfer. In this study, helically agitated mixing was introduced into the dry dilute acid pretreatment of corn stover and its effect on pretreatment efficiency, inhibitor generation, sugar production, and bioconversion efficiency through simultaneous saccharification and ethanol fermentation (SSF) were evaluated. The overall cellulose conversion taking account of cellulose loss in pretreatment was used to evaluate the efficiency of pretreatment. The two-phase computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model on dry pretreatment was established and applied to analyze the mixing mechanism. The results showed that the pretreatment efficiency was significantly improved and the inhibitor generation was reduced by the helically agitated mixing, compared to the dry pretreatment without mixing: the ethanol titer and yield from cellulose in the SSF reached 56.20 g/L and 69.43% at the 30% solids loading and 15 FPU/DM cellulase dosage, respectively, corresponding to a 26.5% increase in ethanol titer and 17.2% increase in ethanol yield at the same fermentation conditions.
Thickening Equipment in dense particulate suspensions was recently proposed to be driven by the activation of friction above an onset stress needed to overcome repulsive forces between particles. Testing this scenario represents a major challenge because classical rheological approaches do not provide access to the frictional properties of suspensions. Here we adopt a different strategy inspired by pressure-imposed configurations in granular flows that specifically gives access to this information.