In the Eulerian approach to model gas¿solid fluidized beds closures are required for the internal momentum transfer in the particulate phase. Firstly, two closure models, one semi-empirical model assuming a constant viscosity of the solid phase (CVM) and a second model based on the kinetic theory of granular flow (KTGF), have been compared in this part in their performance to describe bubble formation at a single orifice and the time-averaged porosity profiles in the bed using experimental data obtained for a pseudo two-dimensional fluidized bed operated with a jet in the center. Numerical simulations have shown that bubble growth at a nozzle with a jet is mainly determined by the drag experienced by the gas percolating through the compaction region around the bubble interface, which is not much influenced by particle¿particle interactions, so that the KTGF and CVM give very similar predictions. However, this KTGF model does not account for the long term and multi particle¿particle contacts (frictional stresses) and under-predicts the solid phase viscosity at the wall as well as around the bubble and therefore over-predicts the bed expansion. Therefore, in the later part of the paper, the bubble growth at a single orifice and the time-averaged porosity distribution in the bed predicted by the KTGF model with and without frictional stresses are compared with experimental data. The model predictions by the KTGF are improved significantly by the incorporation of frictional stresses, which are however strongly influenced by the empirical parameters in this model. In Part II the comparison of the CVM and KTGF with experimental results is extended to freely bubbling fluidized beds.