Clean Coal Combustion: Burning Issues of Syngas Burning

Lead Research Organisation: Lancaster University
Department Name: Engineering

Abstract

Coal-fired generation accounts for 82% of China's total power supply. Even in the UK the coal-fired generation still accounts for 35% . Because of this, the efficient and clean burn of coal is of great importance to the energy sector. Coal gasification and the proper treatment of the generated syngas before the combustion can reduce emissions significantly through alternative power generation system such as Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC). The syngas usually contains varying amounts of hydrogen. The existence of hydrogen in the syngas may cause undesirable flame flashback phenomenon, in which the flame propagates into the burner. The fast flame propagation speed of hydrogen can travel further upstream and even attached to the wall of the combustor. The strong heat transfer to the wall may damage the combustor components. The consequence can be very costly. Because of this, many existing combustors are not suitable for the burning of syngas. To overcome this bottle neck, in-depth knowledge of the flame dynamics of hydrogen enriched fuel is essential, which is still not available. There is also a need to study the flame-wall interactions, which are important to the life span of a combustor but have not been fully understood.In order to understand the complex combustion process of hydrogen enriched fuels, combined efforts from experimentation and numerical simulations are essential. This joint project will investigate the flame dynamics including the flame flashback phenomenon, combustion instability, and flame-wall interactions. The flame dynamics will be investigated for different types of burners with fuel variability. Due to the limitation of optical access, the flame measurements need to be complimented by high-fidelity numerical simulations. The dynamic behaviour of the flame will be experimentally captured by the innovative combustion diagnostic tools developed at Manchester. To complement the experimental work, advanced numerical simulations based on direct numerical simulation and large eddy simulation will be performed at Brunel. The proposed research activities are based on the existing tools developed by the investigators and preliminary studies that have already been carried out by the applicants. The project will further develop innovative combustion diagnostic and advanced numerical tools. The knowledge to be gained from the project research and the physical models to be developed including improved near-wall flow, heat transfer and combustion models can lead to better combustion control and combustor design. The joint project will enhance the understanding on combustion of hydrogen enriched fuels with scientific advancement in flame measurements and near-wall flow modelling. More importantly, it will enhance the development of technologies for clean combustion of hydrogen enriched fuels, leading to a clean coal industry.Collaboration This project has excellent synergy between the UK and Chinese partners. Both partners are linked to BP. The Manchester group is directly supported by BP AE to work on combustion instability. Tsinghua University is one of the few identified links of BP in China. The involvement of Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery Ltd will ensure the maximum input from a gas turbine manufacturer's point of view.Management Both partners have long term informal research connections and the well established communications will ensure the smoothing running of the project. The PIs are well experienced in working with large research consortia. Dr Zhang has close collaboration with the industrial partners.Novelty Valuable physical insight into the potentially damaging combustion phenomena of hydrogen enriched fuels such as syngas burning will be provided; Original combustion diagnostics will be developed; Advanced numerical simulations will be performed; Near-wall flow, heat transfer and combustion models for unsteady reacting flows will be developed.

Publications

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Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
EP/G062714/1 01/07/2009 30/11/2009 £340,177
EP/G062714/2 Transfer EP/G062714/1 01/02/2010 30/11/2012 £292,662
 
Description The project provided a comprehensive investigation of the flame behaviour of hydrogen enriched fuels such as syngas combustion. The specific objectives of the project have been fully achieved, including:
(1) The combustion dynamics of syngas burning has been investigated, including the potentially damaging combustion phenomena of hydrogen enriched fuels such as flashback and combustion instability which are caused particularly by the existence of hydrogen.
(2) Numerical methodologies which are able to predict the burning behaviours of hydrogen enriched fuels at both the fundamental level and practical application level have been developed based on direct numerical and large eddy simulations.
(3) The flame and wall interactions of hydrogen enriched fuels and near-wall flow, heat transfer and combustion models for unsteady reacting flows have been investigated.
Exploitation Route The efficient and clean burn of coal is of great importance to the energy sector. Coal gasification and the proper treatment of the generated syngas before the combustion can reduce emissions significantly through alternative power generation system such as Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC). The syngas usually contains varying amounts of hydrogen. The existence of hydrogen in the syngas may cause undesirable flame flashback phenomenon, in which the flame propagates into the burner. The fast flame propagation speed of hydrogen can travel further upstream and even attached to the wall of the combustor. The strong heat transfer to the wall may damage the combustor components. The consequence can be very costly. Because of this, many existing combustors are not suitable for the burning of syngas. To overcome this bottle neck, in-depth knowledge of the flame dynamics of hydrogen enriched fuel is essential, which is still not available. There is also a need to study the flame-wall interactions, which are important to the life span of a combustor but have not been fully understood.
Using high-fidelity numerical simulations including direct numerical simulation and large eddy simulation, this project investigated the flame dynamics of syngas combustion including the flame flashback phenomenon, combustion instability, and flame-wall interactions. The flame dynamics was investigated for different types of burners with fuel variability. The knowledge gained from the project research and the physical models developed including improved near-wall flow, heat transfer and combustion models can lead to better combustion control and combustor design. The project enhanced the understanding on combustion of hydrogen enriched fuels and the development of technologies for clean combustion of hydrogen enriched fuels relevant to a potential "clean coal" industry.
The research findings have been widely published in archival journals, which can be accessed and taken forward or put to use by all stakeholders.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Chemicals,Energy,Environment,Transport

 
Description The research findings have been widely published in archival journals, which can be accessed and taken forward or put to use by all stakeholders. The research has led to a subsequent EPSRC funded project "EP/K036750/1 Clean Energy Utilisation from Biogas and Biomass Gasification". The project has also led to an EU Horizon 2020 project "High-Performance Computing for Energy (HPC4E)".
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Chemicals,Energy,Environment,Transport
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description EPSRC Standard Research
Amount £487,680 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/K036750/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2013 
End 08/2017
 
Description HPC4E (High Performance Computing for Energy)
Amount € 215,110 (EUR)
Funding ID 689772 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 12/2015 
End 11/2017