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Co-firing based on biomass torrefaction in a pulverized coal boiler with aim of 100% fuel switching
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Materials Science and Engineering, Energy and Furnace Technology.
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Materials Science and Engineering, Energy and Furnace Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1837-5439
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Materials Science and Engineering, Energy and Furnace Technology.
2012 (English)In: Applied Energy, ISSN 0306-2619, E-ISSN 1872-9118, Vol. 99, 344-354 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Torrefied biomass has several benefits, such as higher energy density, good grindability, higher flowability and uniformity. The process of torrefaction moves the chemical and physical properties of raw biomass close to that of bituminous coal, which allows co-utilization with high substitution ratios of biomass in the existing coal-fired boilers without major modifications. In this study, a torrefaction based co-firing system was proposed and studied. Devolatilization and char oxidize kinetics of the torrefied biomass have been investigated experimentally. CFD modeling of co-firing with varying substitutions of torrefied biomass in a pulverized coal boiler have been carried out. To figure out the boiler performance when co-firing torrefied biomass, five different cases were involved and simulated, coal only, 25% biomass, 50% biomass, 75% biomass, and 100% biomass on thermal basis, respectively. The results showed torrefaction is able to provide a technical option for high substitution ratios of biomass in the co-firing system. The case-study pulverized coal boiler could be fired 100% torrefied biomass without obvious decreasing of the boiler efficiency and fluctuation of boiler load. More positively, the net CO 2 and the NO x emissions significantly reduced with increasing of biomass substitutions in the co-firing system.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 99, 344-354 p.
Keyword [en]
Biomass, CFD, Co-firing, Pulverized coal boiler, Torrefaction
National Category
Energy Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-101326DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2012.05.046ISI: 000308049400037ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84864806915OAI: diva2:547895

QC 20120829

Available from: 2012-08-29 Created: 2012-08-27 Last updated: 2014-01-30Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Volumetric combustion of torrefied biomass for large percentage biomass co-firing up to 100% fuel switch
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Volumetric combustion of torrefied biomass for large percentage biomass co-firing up to 100% fuel switch
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The co-firing of biomass and coal plays an important role in increasing the biomass power capacity and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The challenges of the large percentage biomass co-firing (over 20% on energy basis) in existing pulverized coal boilers are keeping the same steam parameters and having a high boiler efficiency and a stable operating.

The primary goal of this thesis is to develop a combustion concept for coal-fired boilers to enablea large percentage of biomass co-firing with up to a 100% fuel switch; these changes should increase the combustion efficiency, reduce CO2  and NOx emissions, improve the process efficiency, while maintaining the same steam parameters after switching fuels. To achieve these goals,  a  typical  biomass  pretreatment technology  called  torrefaction  has  been  employed to upgrade  the  biofuel  quality  in  terms  of  both  energy  density  and  chemical  properties. Consequently, a torrefaction based co-firing system has been proposed. In addition, a novel biomass combustion method called volumetric combustion has been designed; this process involves intense mixing and flue gas internal recirculation inside the combustion chamber, increasing the residence time of the biomass particles and making the temperature and gas species more uniform.

In this thesis, a series of studies based on experiments, CFD modelling, and process simulations have been performed. First, the raw material was palm kernel shells (PKS) that were torrefied over same residence time but at different temperatures in a laboratory-scale torrefaction reactor, producing three torrefied biomasses with different degrees of torrefaction. The devolatilization kinetics and char oxidation kinetics were determined based a series of high-temperature high-heating-rate tests in an isothermal plug flow reactor (IPFR), the obtained kinetic parameters were adopted for CFD modeling. Continually, the numerical investigations on the flame properties of the torrefied biomass and a 220 MWe coal-fired boiler performance were conducted, to understand the predicted results of the coal-fired boiler performance at varying biomass co-firing ratios. Afterward, analyses of the impacts of the degree of torrefaction and the biomass co-firing ratio on process operation, performance and electricity efficiency of a torrefaction based co-firing power plant were performed. Finally, the properties of the pollutants emitted from biomass volumetric combustions under various combustion modes and co-firing ratios were studied using Aspen Plus.

According to the results, the following conclusions can be reached: 1) a high heating rate enhances the yields of the volatiles for biomass devolatilization processes with the same final temperature; 2) the enhanced drag force on the biomass particles causes a late release of volatile matter and delays the ignition of the fuel-air mixture. Furthermore, oxidizers with lower oxygen concentrations normally generate larger flame volumes, lower peak flame temperatures and lower NO emission; 3) the co-firing simulation reveals that a boiler load reduction of less than 10% is observed when firing 100% torrefied biomass; 4) deep torrefaction is not recommended because the energy saved during biomass grinding is lower than that consumed by the additional torrefaction process; the electrical efficiency of power plant is reduced when increasing either the degree of torrefaction or the biomass substitution ratio; 5) the amount of flue gas that needs to be recycled for NOx reduction decreased when the percentage of co-fired biomass increased.

Overall, from the perspective of combustion, both the torrefaction process and volumetric combustion are promising steps toward realizing large percentage biomass co-firing in coal-fired boilers with high efficiency and reduced emissions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2014. xii, 68 p.
Biomass, co-firing, torrefaction, torrefaction degree, kinetics, volumetric combustion, fuel switch
National Category
Chemical Sciences Materials Engineering
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-140705 (URN)978-91-7501-988-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-02-17, Sal F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)

QC 20140130

Available from: 2014-01-30 Created: 2014-01-30 Last updated: 2014-01-31Bibliographically approved

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