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Volumetric combustion of biomass for CO 2 and NOx reduction in coal-fired boilers

Li, Jun and Yang, Weihong and Blasiak, Wlodzimierz and Ponzio, Anna (2012) Volumetric combustion of biomass for CO 2 and NOx reduction in coal-fired boilers. Fuel, 102. pp. 624-633. ISSN 0016-2361

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To meet the urgent environmental targets, substituting coal with biomass has been considered to be an effective and promising method over the last decades. In this paper, a new concept of volumetric combustion is proposed and further developed to achieve 100% fuel switching to biomass in large scale coal-fired boilers. Volumetric combustion not only changes the in-furnace flow but also affects the combustion reactions by the intensive mixing and internal recirculation of the flue gases. Firstly, the volumetric combustion properties of the wood pellets were investigated experimentally. An Aspen model was then used to thermodynamically describe and study the volumetric combustion with three different types of fuel, and the emission properties of CO 2 and NOx were compared. Finally, two applications of volumetric combustion were discussed. It is concluded that the wood pellets ignited and combusted much faster than the coal pellets and had a larger combustion volume when combusted under lower oxygen concentration conditions, and the ignition time was almost independent of the oxygen concentration when the oxidizer was preheated to 1000 °C. In addition, the NOx emissions decreased as the recirculation ratio of the flue gas increased, and as the percentage of biomass used in co-firing increased, the amount of flue gas that needs to be recycled for reduction of NOx decreased. Thus, the volumetric combustion is beneficial as it reduces the operation cost of NOx reduction. The volumetric combustion would be an attractive technology for co-firing a large proportion of biomass in coal-fired boilers with high boiler efficiency and effective emissions reduction.