50kW Chemical Looping Plant


Chemical looping combustion (CLC) is a unique technology offering inherent CO2 separation, and is capable of using biomass, liquid and solid fuels for combustion/gasification and reforming applications. Cranfield’s test facility will permit testing of the entire suite of fuels and oxygen carrier particles and determine the effects of attrition and/or agglomeration, and ash and trace contaminant impact on oxygen carrier particle performance.  Cranfield also has extensive experience with using various techniques to follow tracer particles and map the time history of such particles.


Chemical looping can be used in a wide range of applications ranging from small and large industrial gasification systems, combustion applications and reforming processes, to full-scale power production.  The technology also offers the possibility of converting biomass/wastes to energy and syngas, in a CO2-negative manner (i.e., reducing the net anthropogenic CO2 burden). Cranfield is also exploring the possibility of using CLC for oxygen separation, which has the potential to avoid conventional and expensive cryogenic oxygen production.

System Description

This unit is currently the largest such in the UK, offering major opportunities for R&D on this important technology.  The facility offers operational flexibility and gas mixing capabilities.

Integrated components involved

The test facility is designed so that it can function as either a dual fluidized bed system capable of circulating solids between a circulating fluidized bed riser and a downcomer, or a single entrained flow riser with a second bubbling bed reactor.  It is extensively equipped with sampling/feed ports, thermocouples, pressure probes and advanced flow meters so that it is capable of providing detailed information on both gas and temperature fields, suitable for the development of 3D mathematical CFD models as well as process models which can be used in scale-up and evaluation of various industrial applications. Like all Cranfield combustion and gasification systems, each unit is supplied with a fully automated, sophisticated gas supply and mixing system, which can permit operation for extended periods.  This unit is also equipped with advanced baghouse filters for gas cleaning and particulate control.  This rig and all of Cranfield’s facilities are also fully equipped with automatic gas detection system capability in the event of leaks, and an automatic alarm and shut-down system.  Also, this unit has hot viewing windows at several locations to permit the study of flow characteristics and particle transfer.

Analytical capability

This unit is supplemented by an extensive range of gas analysers with gas conditioning units and in addition there is a 3D cold model which will allow hydrodynamic studies to be performed and the generation of input engineering data for process and other system models designed with the aim of scaling up the technology to commercial and industrial scale.