Understanding the heat and mass transfer phenomena in a coal gasifier is very useful for the assessment of gasifier performance and optimization of the design and operating parameters. In this paper, performance of an entrained flow air blown laboratory scale gasifier is numerically simulated with Fluent software. In the model, the continuous phase conservation equations are solved in an Eulerian frame, while those of particle phase are solved in a Lagrangian frame, with coupling between the two phases carried out through interactive source terms. The dispersion of the particles due to turbulence is predicted using a stochastic tracking model, in conjunction with the k-ε equations for the gas phase. The coal gasification model adopted includes devolatilization, combustion of volatiles, char combustion and gasification. The gasification performance inside the gasifier has been predicted for different air ratios as well as for different air and steam inlet temperatures. The overall temperature inside the gasifier is found to increase when the degree of air/steam pre-heating is increased, resulting in acceleration of the different reaction steps in the gasifier. The overall gasification performance indices such as carbon conversion, heating value of the exit gas and cold gas efficiency have been predicted. The predicted results show good agreement with available experimental data in literature. © 2008 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.