GPT - Thermo-Chemical Processes Group Instituto Universitario de Investigación en Ingeniería de Aragón. Universidad de Zaragoza
Bench-scale Fluidized Bed Installation
The Bench-scale Fluidized Bed Installation is a very flexible unit, initially thought to carry out catalytic steam reforming experiments of different feedstocks, such as complex organics solutions, biomass pyrolysis liquids (bio-oils), crude glycerol and black liquors, among others.
The experimental setup consists of a laboratory-scale installation with a tubular quartz fluidized bed reactor that operates at atmospheric pressure heating by means of an electric furnace. The feeding system consists of a quartz coaxial injection nozzle producing a spray which enables continuous feeding of liquids. A ½ “ (o.d.) 316 stainless steel fluidized bed reactor is also available for alternative configurations when feeding of solids in discontinuous batch operation is required.
The feed is refrigerated by means of an external cooling jacket preventing plugging of the inlet when working with liquid feedstocks with a high tendency to polymerize. Two different pumps (HPLC and Peristaltic) are available and connected to the feeding system to introduce the feed into the reactor.
The main components of the experimental unit are as follows: a fluidized bed reactor, an electric furnace, two liquid feeding pumps (HPLC and Peristaltic), five mass flow controllers, a condensation system to collect the liquid products, a cotton filter and an on-line micro-gas chromatograph.
N2 is usually fed to the system for several different purposes. On the one hand, as a fluidizing agent and also as a carrier and sweeping gas, it also helps spraying the liquid through the feeding nozzle. On the other hand, it is used as an internal standard to do the quantitative analysis of the gases obtained during the reaction. Three mass flow controllers are available for these purposes.
A H2 line is also available, with its correspondent mass flow controller, to introduce H2 into the system (To conduct in-situ reduction of the catalysts before the reaction or to be fed into the system during the reaction when necessary).
An additional mass flow controller is also available to introduce other different gases to the process, such as O2, air, etc., which makes this installation easily customizable for different research purposes.

Tech. Spec.

  • Liquid inlet:
    • HPLC AGILENT 1100 Series metering pump
(Max. flow rate capacity: 5 mL/min)
  • GILSON MINIPLUS peristaltic pump
(Max. flow rate capacity: 30 mL/min)
  • Gas inlet: 3 Bronkhorst mass flow controllers:
    • 2 with a maximum capacity of 300 cm3 STP/min each.
    • 1 with a maximum capacity of 1500 cm3 STP/min.
  • 2 Alicat Scientific mass flow controllers with a maximum capacity of 3000 cm3 STP/min each.
  • Gas analysis: Agilent M200 Series Micro GC equipped with 2 analysis modules using TCD detectors. Modules: Plot U (with Plot Q pre-column), He carrier, and MolSieve 5A, Ar carrier. Other gas analysers are also available allowing the possibility of analysing H2S and up to C3 hydrocarbons.
  • Fluidized bed tubular quartz reactor having 2.54 cm of inner diameter and 60 cm in height.
  • Hobersal electric furnace with a maximum temperature limit of 1150 ºC, controlled by means of a PID controller and a K-type thermocouple.
  • A condensation system and a cotton filter are available to collect condensable gases and particulate matter right before the gas analyser.
  • Computerized control and data acquisition system.

Research projects

  • Project
    • "Producción de hidrógeno mediante reformado de líquidos de pirólisis de biomasa- Hydrogen production by steam reforming of bio-oil”
    • Funded by Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia (Spanish ministry for education and science)
    • Period: 13/12/2004-12/12/2007
    • Research leader: Jesús Arauzo Pérez
    • Total budget: 209600 euros
  • Project
    • “Tratamiento de residuos biomásicos en lecho fluidizado para la producción de hidrógeno- Treatment of biomass wastes in fluidized bed for hydrogen production”
    • Funded by Dirección General de Investigación, Innovación y Desarrollo de la Diputación General de Aragón (DGA, regional government)
    • Period: 01/11/2005 – 31/10/2007
    • Research leader: Lucía García Nieto
    • Total budget: 42817 euros
  • Project
    • “Producción de gas de síntesis a partir de residuos agroforestales- Agroforest residues to synthesis gas trought bio-oil”
    • Funded by Comunidad de Trabajo de los Pirineos (CTP, Spain-France bilateral work community)
    • Period: 01/01/2010 – 31/12/2011
    • Research leader: Lucía García Nieto
    • Total budget: 25000 euros


  • Medrano, J.A., Oliva, M., Ruiz, J., García, L., Arauzo, J., "Catalytic Steam Reforming of Acetic Acid in a Fluidized Bed Reactor with Oxigen Addition”. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy. Ed. Elsevier Science. 33, pp. 4387-4396, 2008.
  • Medrano, J.A., Oliva, M., Ruiz, J., García, L., Arauzo, J., "Catalytic Steam Reforming of Model Compounds of Biomass Pyrolysis Liquids in Fluidized Bed Reactor with Modified Ni/Al Catalysts”. Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis. Ed. Elsevier Science. 85, pp. 214-225, 2009.
  • Medrano, J.A., Oliva, M., Ruiz, J., García, L., Arauzo, J., “Hydrogen from Aqueous Fraction of Biomass Pyrolysis Liquids by Catalytic Steam Reforming in Fluidized Bed”, Energy 36, pp 2215-2224, 2011
European Comission Brisk
The Thermochemical Processes Group (GPT) is partly funded by the EU's European Social Fund and by the Gobierno de Aragón (Aragonese government)
EU's European Social Fund Gobierno de Aragón