Pilot plant helps companies with process development

For the past year, a pilot facility for development of fluidized bed processes has been in operation at Swerea in Luleå. Unique in Europe, the facility allows companies great opportunities for independent testing and process development.

Fluidized bed reactor (FBR) technology is not new. As early as the 1940s it was used in the oil industry. Here, catalysts were used to reduce crude oil to simpler compounds through a process known as cracking (separation). 

Luleå pilot facility accessible to companies

In this case, what is new and unique is the pilot plant that has been in use at Swerea in Luleå for the past year. An advantage with the facility is that it can be used by companies to develop their processes and to do independent testing and experimentation without disrupting their own production.

Fluidized bed process testing

In the fluidized bed process, particles can react in the solid phase without any melting occurring between the particles. The reaction takes place when particles in the reactor are heated. Gravitational forces on the particles are balanced by upward forces from the underlying gas flow, causing the solid to behave as though it were a fluid.

The fluidized bed process is normally used in several areas of the process industry, for example, in metal extraction. In the process, contaminant substances are separated from the metal concentrate. In addition to metal production, combustion of biofuels is another important application area.

Thanks to the pilot plant, there are now greater possibilities for controlling the combustion process and multiphase combustion. During the process Swerea can assess the influence of temperature and optimize combustion.