A simulation model of a circulating fluidized bed combustor, based on a one-dimensional description of bed hydrodynamics and a simplified formulation of the population balance equation on fuel and bed solids, has been set up. The model specifically aims at assessing the extent of fuel and sorbent attrition during circulating fluidized bed combustion of coal. Fuel attrition is modelled as a function of carbon loading and of the relevant operating variables while taking into account primary fragmentation of coal and secondary fragmentation and attrition by surface wear of its char. Modelling of sorbent attrition accounts for primary fragmentation of limestone upon calcination as well as attrition by surface wear of lime. To this end time- and conversion-dependent attrition rate is averaged over the sorbent particle lifetime in the reactor. Attrition submodels and their constitutive parameters are based on previous work by the research group in Naples. Coal char combustion and lime sulphation are modelled considering intrinsic reaction kinetics as well as boundary layer and intraparticle diffusion of reactants. The impact of attrition phenomena on the performance of the fluidized bed combustor is characterized by looking at carbon combustion efficiency, at sulphur capture efficiency, at the balance between bottom and fly ashes. The influence of operating parameters like fuel particle size, Ca/S ratio, gas superficial velocity, extent of air staging is investigated. The sensitivity of results of model computations to the parameters expressing fuel and sorbent attrition is presented and discussed.

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