Downer reactor: From fundamental study to industrial application

Yi Cheng, Changning Wu, Jingxu Zhu, Fei Wei, Yong Jin

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

126 Citations (Scopus)


Downer reactor, in which gas and solids move downward co-currently, has unique features such as the plug-flow reactor performance and relatively uniform flow structure compared to other gas-solids fluidized bed reactors, e.g., bubbling bed, turbulent bed and riser. Downer is therefore acknowledged as a novel multiphase flow reactor with great potential in high-severity operated processes, such as the high temperature, ultra-short contact time reactions with the intermediates as the desired products. Typical process developments in industry have directed to (1) the new-generation refinery process for cracking of heavier feedstock to gasoline and light olefins (e.g., propylene) as by-products; and (2) coal pyrolysis in hydrogen plasma which opens up a direct means for producing acetylene, i.e., a new route to synthesize chemicals from a clean coal utilization process. This paper is to give a comprehensive review on the development of fundamental researches on downer reactors as well as the particular industrial demonstrations for the fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) of heavy oils and coal pyrolysis in thermal plasma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-384
Number of pages21
JournalPowder Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Downer reactor
  • Fluid catalytic cracking, Coal pyrolysis
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Modeling and simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering (all)


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