Advanced non-invasive experiments like computer automated radioactive particle tracking and computed tomography along with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations were performed in mimic anaerobic digesters to visualize their flow pattern and obtain hydrodynamic parameters. The mixing in the digester was provided by sparging gas at three different flow rates. The simulation results in terms of overall flow pattern, location of circulation cells and stagnant regions, trends of liquid velocity profiles, and volume of dead zones agree reasonably well with the experimental data. CFD simulations were also performed on different digester configurations. The effects of changing draft tube size, clearance, and shape of the tank bottoms were calculated to evaluate the effect of digester design on its flow pattern. Changing the draft tube clearance and height had no influence on the flow pattern or dead regions volume. However increasing the draft tube diameter or incorporating a conical bottom design helped in reducing the volume of the dead zones as compared to a flat bottom digester. The simulations showed that the gas flow rate sparged by a single point (0.5 cm diameter) sparger does not have appreciable effect on the flow pattern of the digesters.

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