In-depth Studies of OxyCoal Combustion Processes through Numerical Modelling and 3D Flame Imaging

Lead Research Organisation: University of Kent
Department Name: Sch of Engineering & Digital Arts

Abstract

Coal will likely remain in an important position in the world energy mix in the foreseeable future because of its stability in supply and low cost in production. However, coal fired power generation industry has to substantially reduce its pollutant emission to survive in the future carbon constrained energy market. Oxycoal combustion with CO2 capture from flue gas is an emerging technology that can be adapted to both new and existing coal-fired power stations leading to a substantial reduction in carbon emission. Various assessments suggest that oxycoal technology is feasible and more favourable than other CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) technologies, such as post-carbon capture. Currently, oxycoal combustion technology is still in its laboratory and technology demonstration stages and there is a significant knowledge gap in this new technology. A number of uncertainties exist in the combustion process where the changes in the heat transfer and combustion characteristics are, among others, the major concerns. Issues with system designs such as the optimum oxygen concentrations and its impact need to be investigated. Other complications include such as high concentrations of sulphur and mercury and changes in deposition and corrosion in the boiler and the downstream elements. If the technology is to be widely adopted in power generation industry for CCS then it is imperative that the impacts of these changes in the combustion processes are well understood, and that economic solutions to mitigating the problems encountered are identified.The proposed research aims to achieve an in-depth understanding of the oxycoal combustion processes, to develop key modelling capabilities for process prediction, and to provide guidelines to the power generation industry on design new and/or retrofitting existing power plant with oxycoal combustion technology. Because of the high costs of performing large scale tests, process modelling is commonly used as an alternative in technology development. In this project, advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) techniques will be employed to perform detailed simulations on the oxycoal combustion processes. Because the oxycoal combustion is very different from the conventional air-coal combustion, new oxycoal specific CFD sub-programmes will be developed in order to achieve accurate modelling results. In parallel to the CFD modelling, well controlled practical measurements will be carried out to setup a comprehensive database on the oxycoal combustion and to provide validation to the CFD model development. In addition, a unique 3D flame monitoring system will be developed to monitor the oxycoal combustion flames. This integrated approach of advanced computational modelling, detailed experimental testing, and 3D flame imaging forms a mutual validating and complementary system to ensure a credible research output so that an in-depth understanding of the impact of oxycoal on flame characteristics, critical reaction kinetics, and devolatilsation and char reaction in the combustion processes may be achieved.The project consortium comprises of three academic centres of expertise from Leeds, Kent and the Imperial College. Three leading energy research institutes in China are joint force on the research. Collaborative research programmes have been arranged to carryout experimental testing and theoretical simulation in both UK and China. The project has also gained strong supported from leading power generation companies and commercial CFD developer providing practical advice on oxycoal combustion tests and combustion model development. The project provides a platform for the leading UK groups and leading Chinese partners to work together in tackling the significant issues related to the oxycoal combustion technology, which is expected to contribute significantly in cutting the CO2 and other greenhouse gases emissions in the power industry in both countries.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description 1. As a result of this project a novel 3D flame imaging technique for the measurement of the external dynamics and
the internal structure of the oxycoal flame has been developed. A prototype system has been designed, constructed and assessed on a laboratory-scale combustion test rig under a range of oxycoal combustion conditions.
2. With the use of the developed technique, comprehensive characterisation of oxycoal flames has been achieved in terms of shape, size, temperature distribution, soot concentration, emissivity and oscillation frequency. Such measurement data have helped combustion engineers to have a deeper understanding of the oxyfuel combustion with reference to air combustion.
3. The oxycoal flame data has been used to validate oxyfuel flame models and optimise the design and operation of oxycoal burners and oxyfuel combustion processes.
Exploitation Route The developed 3D flame imaging technology has helped combustion engineers to achieve an in-depth understanding and subsequent optimisation of oxycoal combustion processes. The measurement results have also provided useful data for the validation of oxycoal combustion and flame models that have been developed by the Leeds team and other researchers in the field. The 3D flame imaging technology has been tested at the 250kW PACk facility at Sheffield.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Energy,Environment

 
Description The findings arising from this project align well with the UK Government's Carbon Abatement Technology Strategy to minimise CO2 emissions from fossil fuel fired power plants. The 3D flame monitoring technology has helped research engineers in the design and diagnosis of oxyfuel combustion processes. In addition, the new data derived from the project have made a considerable contribution to the current body of knowledge on oxycoal combustion and provide an in-depth understanding of the fundamental characteristics of the solid fuel combustion in rich CO2 environments in terms of both major combustion performance and the flame and ignition properties. This has enabled the power generation sectors in both UK and China to improve the oxycoal combustion efficient and system reliability so that they can deploy this new CCS technology in the power plants with greater confidence in their future operation. Furthermore, the 3D flame monitoring technology has played an important part not only in optimising the oxycoal combustion process but also in the research of other combustion processes such as CFBs and blast furnaces. The measurement results have also provided ample data for the validation of combustion and flame models developed by many other researchers in the field. A prototype system is now installed on the 250kW PACT facility at Sheffield.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Electronics,Energy,Environment
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description Biomass and Fossil Fuel Research Alliance (BF2RA)
Amount £40,000 (GBP)
Funding ID Ref. No.25 
Organisation Biomass and Fossil Fuel Research Alliance 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2015 
End 09/2018
 
Description British Coal Utilisation Res Assoc BCURA
Amount £50,000 (GBP)
Funding ID No.2 
Organisation British Coal Utilisation Research Association (BCURA) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2010 
End 06/2014
 
Description EPSRC-E.ON Strategic Partnership, Carbon Capture and Storage
Amount £169,067 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/G062153/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2009 
End 07/2014
 
Description Imaging of coal fired flames
Amount £10,190 (GBP)
Organisation Doosan Babcock 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2017 
End 11/2017
 
Description Imaging of special coal flames
Amount £11,952 (GBP)
Organisation Doosan Babcock 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2017 
End 04/2018
 
Description Industrial Consultancy - IIT Ltd
Amount £4,174 (GBP)
Organisation International Innovative Technologies 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2013 
End 09/2013
 
Description Industrial PhD Studentship
Amount £81,000 (GBP)
Organisation KROHNE 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2014 
End 10/2017
 
Description Industry-sponsored PhD studentship
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Organisation KROHNE 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2016 
End 08/2020
 
Description Innovate UK Technology-Inspired Innovation
Amount £99,363 (GBP)
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2016 
End 02/2017
 
Description International Research Collaboration Fund
Amount £16,794 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2016 
End 04/2017
 
Description Network International Research Collaboration Fund
Amount £17,779 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2015 
End 10/2015
 
Description PACT Facility
Amount £18,154 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2016 
End 04/2017
 
Description RCUK China-UK Summer School
Amount £12,000 (GBP)
Funding ID SS10-017 
Organisation Research Councils UK (RCUK) 
Department RCUK-China
Sector Public
Country China
Start 06/2010 
End 12/2010
 
Description Royal Academy of Engineering Major Award for Research Exchanges with China
Amount £15,800 (GBP)
Funding ID 12/13RECI046 
Organisation Royal Academy of Engineering 
Sector Learned Society
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2013 
End 11/2014
 
Description UKCCSRC Call 2
Amount £170,621 (GBP)
Funding ID UKCCSRC-C2-218 
Organisation UK Carbon Capture & Storage Research Centre 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2014 
End 06/2016
 
Description North China Electric Power University 
Organisation North China Electric Power University
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Expertise in sensors and instrumentation
Collaborator Contribution Researchers and test facilities
Impact Joint papers and best paper prizes.
Start Year 2011
 
Description RJM International 
Organisation R.J.M. International Limited
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Flame imaging techniques
Collaborator Contribution Practical use of the flame imaging techniques on coal fired power stations
Impact Developed commercial prototypes.
Start Year 2016
 
Description RWE nPower 
Organisation RWE AG
Department RWE nPower
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Availability of prototype systems for on-line particle sizing of pulverised fuel (biomass and coal) including wood pellets. Availability of oxycoal flame data.
Collaborator Contribution RWE npower made their Tilbury Power Station available to the research team. Advice on oxycoal combustion.
Impact Several joint research papers.
Start Year 2008
 
Description University of Leeds 
Organisation University of Leeds
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Academic partner in EPSRC funded projects.
Collaborator Contribution Expertise and experience in computational modelling and simulation of fuels and flames.
Impact Joint papers
Start Year 2008
 
Description University of Nottingham 
Organisation University of Nottingham
Department School of Physics and Astronomy
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Particle imaging techniques
Collaborator Contribution Fuel particle combustion and drop tube furnace.
Impact Joint papers.
Start Year 2015
 
Description University of Sheffield 
Organisation University of Sheffield
Department Sheffield Medical School
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Hospitals 
PI Contribution Expertise on advanced flame monitoring
Collaborator Contribution Computational modelling of combustion processes and 250 kWth PACK test facility
Impact Joint papers
Start Year 2015
 
Description Zhejiang University 
Organisation Zhejiang University
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Availability of prototype instruments for coal and biomass flow metering, on-line particle sizing and flame monitoring.
Collaborator Contribution Access to their 3MW Combustion Test Facility for trials. Advice and attendance of project review meetings and workshops.
Impact Several joint papers
Start Year 2008
 
Company Name GreenTech Automation Ltd 
Description Design, construction and evaluation of instruments for power plant applications. 
Year Established 2015 
Impact Advanced flame monitors are helping power plant operators to optimise the operation of coal and biomass fired power stations in terms of process efficiency and pollutant emissions.