ME 326 Thermal Power Engineering

Topic : Fuels and Combustion

Dr. Arvind Pattamatta
Heat Transfer and Thermal power Lab
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Indian Institute of Technology Madras

Coal Firing
• Since the old days of feeding coal into a furnace by hand,
several major advances have been made to improve the
combustion efficiency.
• Types of coal firing:
• 1. mechanical Stoker firing
• 2. Pulverized firing (1920s:represented a major increase in
combustion rates over mechanical stokers)
• 3. Cyclone Firing (1940s)
• 4. Fluidized bed firing (1950s)

Proper Size of Coal for Various Types of Firing
S. No.

Types of Firing System

Size (in mm)

Hand Firing
(a) Natural draft
(b) Forced draft


Stoker Firing
(a) Chain grate
i) Natural draft
ii) Forced draft
(b) Spreader Stoker



Pulverized Fuel Fired

75% below 75 micron*


Fluidized bed boiler

< 10 mm


Mechanical Stoker Firing
A ‘stoker’ is a power operated fuel feeding mechanism and grate.
Automatic stokers are classified as
1. Overfeed stokers.
2. Underfeed stokers.
The overfeed stokers are mainly classified into two types.
1. Travelling grate stoker
a) Chain grate stoker
b) Bar grate stoker
2. Spreader stoker.

Over feed Vs Under feed stoker .

Differences between overfeed and underfeed stokers: Sl. . 5 Both coal and air moves in the opposite direction.No Overfeed stokers Underfeed stokers 1 Suitable for boiler installation where the coal is burnt with pulverisation. Both coal and air moves in the same direction. The coal is admitted into the furnace below the point of air admission. 4 The coal is fed into the grate above the point of air admission. The volatile matter is at higher temperature before entering the furnace and hence burns quickly when mixed with secondary air. 3 The ash is comparatively at lower temperature. Suitable for semi-bituminous and bituminous coals with high volatile matter. 2 The volatile matter requires longer time for complete burning and results in the formation of smoke. The ash left at the bottom of the stoker is at high temperature.

non-caking coals are best suited for chain grate stokers. The rate of burning with this stoker is 200 to 300 kg per m2 per hour .Travelling Grate Stoker The speed of the stoker is 15 cm to 50 cm per minute.

Efficiency is Low. Stoker firing is limited to low capacities (12.6 kg/s of steam) These capacities are the result of the practical limitations of stoker physical sizes and relatively low burning rates which require a large furnace width for a given steam output.Stoker system characteristics • • • • All kinds of coal can be fired on stokers. .

Spreader Stoker • Most widely used for stem capacities of 9. • It can burn a wide variety of coals from high-rank bituminous to Lignite.5 to 50 kg/s. .

074 mm) sieve. • Lower carbon loss • Higher combustion temperatures and improved thermal efficiency • Lower operating and maintenance cost . it is crushed and then ground to such a fine powder that approx 70 % of it will pass a 200-mesh (0.Pulverized Coal Firing • To prepare coal for use in pulverized firing. resulting in lower fan-power consumption. • Advantages of pulverized coal firing are: • The ability to use any type of coal • A lower requirement for excess air for combustion.

to ensure ready ignition because of their large surface to volume ratios. usually those that would pass a 200-mesh screen. . • Mot accepted law (Rittinger’s Law) states that the work needed to reduce a material of given size to smaller size is proportional to the surface area of the reduced size. the existence of large quantities of very fine particles of coal. The existence of a minimum quantity of coarser particles to ensure high combustion efficiency. • To burn pulverized coal in a furnace. • 2.Pulverized Coal Firing • The mechanism of crushing and pulverizing has not been well understood. two requirements have to be met: • 1.

Coal Sieve Analysis .

the following crushers are preferred: • Ring Crusher • Hammer-mill • BradFord Breaker • Roll crusher . it must go through crushers for being broken into required size (about 3cm).Coal Crushers • If the coal is too large. • To prepare coal for pulverization. which are part of the coal-handling system.

Ring type coal crusher .

Hammer-mill coal crusher .

Bradford Breaker .

• Drying Removal of moisture from coal • Pulverizer or Grinding Mill Grinding is accomplished by impaction. crushing.Pulverizers • Pulverizing process is composed of the following stages: • Feeding system Which automatically controls the fuel-feed rate according to the boiler demand and the air rates required for drying and transporting fuel to the burner. or combination of these. • Classifier Separates oversized coal and returns it to the grinders to maintain the proper fineness for the particular application. . attrition.

The Pulverized coal system It comprises of • Pulverizing • Delivery and • Burning equipment. . Classification: • The bin or storage system • The direct-firing system.

Pulverized coal bin system • • • The bin system is essentially a batch system The coal is pneumatically conveyed through pipelines to utilization bins near the furnace. Used mainly in older coal fired plants. .

each feeding a number of burners. pulverizer. Large steam generators are provided with more than one pulverizer system. . and lower operating cost. so that a wide control range is possible by varying the load on each. and primary air fan to the furnace burners. greater safety. It continuously processes coal from the storage receiving bunker through a feeder. lower space requirement.Pulverized coal direct firing system • • • It has greater simplicity.

Initial ignition of the burner is accomplished by light-fuel oil jet. spark-ignition. .Pulverized coal burner • • • Similar to an oil burner It receives dried pulverized coal in suspension in the primary air and mixes with the main combustion air from the steam generator air preheater.

.Excess air requirement • The total air-fuel ratio is greater than stoichiometric but just enough to ensure complete combustion without wasting energy by adding too much sensible heat to the air.

Tangential injection of primary and secondary air to impart a centrifugal motion to the coal.Cyclone Furnace(1940s) • • • • It is widely used to burn poorer grades of coal that contain a high ash content (6-25 %).7-8. Tertiary air admitted at the center The whirling motion of air and coal results in large heat rate volumetric densities (4. and a high volatile matter (>15%) to obtain the necessary high rates of combustion.3 MW/m3) and high combustion temperatures ( > 1650 deg C) .

Only crushed coal is used and no pulverization equipment is needed and hence boiler size is reduced. Limitations: Formation of relatively more Nox in the combustion process. High forced draft fan pressure and therefore higher power requirements. as molten slag is collected on cyclone walls by centrifugal action and drained off the bottom. compared with 80 % for pulverized coal firing. .Cyclone Furnace • • • • • • • Advantages: The removal of much of the ash. about 60 %. Only 40 % ash leaves with the flue gases.

• In a fluidized bed the turbulent state increases heat and mass transfer and reduces time of reaction.Fluidized-bed combustion • It has been under development since 1950s. . resulting in lower production of Nox as well as the avoidance of slagging problems. • It differs from the cyclone furnace in that sulfur is removed during the combustion process. plant size and power requirement. • It occurs at lower temperatures. • Fluidized bed combustion results in high combustion efficiency and low combustion temperatures.

Other advantages are: • Complete and efficient combustion • Low emissions • Favorable Ash property • Low operating costs and Maintenance • . Desulfurization is accomplished by the addition of limestone directly to the bed together with the crushed coal. at bed temp between 815 to 870 deg C though a practical range of operation of fluidized beds of 750 deg C to 950 deg C is common.Advantages of FB combustion • • • Major advantage of CFBC is the concurrent removal of SO2. Limestone absorbs the SO2 with the help of some O2 from the excess air 1 CaCO3 + SO2 + O2 → CaSO4 + CO2 2 The rate of this reaction is max.

Fluidization • • • A fluidized bed is a bed of solid particles which are set into motion by blowing a gas stream upward through the bed at a sufficient velocity to suspend the particles. The bed appears like a boiling liquid. . The fluidization occurs when the drag force on the particles in the bed due to the upward flowing gas just equals the weight of the bed.

4 for randomly packed beds. Fluidized beds usually have large wall diameter. so ∆Pw is relatively small.( s ) vol. of solids =1. α = Where ρb is the bulk density of the bed. ms=mb. of bed ρs m b Since the voids may be regarded as empty spaces. = 1-(ρb/ρs) H0 1−α = 1−α0 H Where α0 is porosity in collapsed state = 0. . The average gas density of hot gaseous products is much smaller than that of the solids and ∆Pf therefore is also relatively small ∆P = ∆Ps = H(1-α)ρs g • Where α = average porosity or void fraction of bed • m ρb vol. of bed – vol.Fluidization • • • The total pressure drop in a fluidized bed is composed of ∆P = ∆Pw + ∆Ps + ∆Pf ∆Pw pressure drop due to friction at the wall ∆Ps pressure drop due to static weight of solids in bed ∆Pf pressure drop due to static weight of fluid in bed.

Fluidization • The minimum fluid velocity necessary for fluidization may be calculated by equating the drag force on a particle due to the motion of the fluid to the weight of the particle. 2 C D Aρ f v s 2 = Vρ s g CD Drag coefficient. a function of shape and Re A Cross sectional area of the particle ρf Density of the fluid ρs Density of the solid particle V volume of the particle Vs velocity of the fluid g gravitational acceleration • For a spherical particle 8 ρs vs = rp g 3C D ρ f where rp is the radius of the particle .

Bed pressure drop .

Packed bed (Stoker) 2. Turbulent Bed 4. Pneumatic Transport (Pulverized) .Regimes of Fluidization 1. Fast Fluidized bed (Circulating Fluidized) 5. Bubbling Fluidized Bed 3.

Regimes of Fluidization .

Regimes of Fluidization .

Regimes of Fluidization .

75 3 3 2 H α (φd p ) α φd p 3 • Where µ is the viscosity and ρs is the density of the gas. The pressure drop per unit height of a packed bed of uniformly sized particles is given by Ergun’s equation 2 ρ v ∆p (1 − α ) µv 1−α f = 150 + 1. dp is the diameter of the particles and φ is the sphericity of particles φ= surface area of a sphere of the same volume as the particle surface area of the particle .Packed bed • • A packed bed consists of a bed of stationary particles on a perforated grid through which a gas is flowing.

The pressure drop across the bed is equal to the weight of the bed. vmf.0408 ρ f ( ρ s − ρ f ) gd p 3 µf2 .Bubbling Fluidized Bed • • • When the superficial velocity of gas flow through a fixed bed reaches the minimum fluidization velocity.2 and C 2 = 0. the fluid drag is given as FD = ∆P A = A H(1-α) (ρs – ρf )g Also ∆P /H = (1-α) (ρs – ρf )g The minimum superficial velocity. may be given in terms of Reynolds number: Re mf = ρ g d p vmf µ = [C12 + C 2 Ar ]0.5 − C1 Ar = Archimedes number = C1 = 27. vs. the fixed bed transforms into an incipiently fluidized bed and the bed starts behaving as a liquid.

and a point is eventually reached when the bubbles constantly collapse and reform resulting in a violently active bed. The bed surface is highly diffused and particles are thrown into the free board above. The pressure drop fluctuates rapidly. The amplitude of pressure fluctuation reaches a peak and reduces to a steady state value. . the bed expands.Turbulent Bed • • • • As the velocity of gas through a bubbling fluidized bed is increased.

Fast Fluidized Bed • • Also referred to as the Circulating Fluidized Bed. • The main difference between bubbling beds and CFB lies in the gas velocity used. Defined by Basu and Fraser (1991) as follows: • High slip velocity (Ug-Us) between gas and solid. and a very good gas-solid mixing are the characteristic features of this regime. While bubbling beds normally operate at gas velocities of around 1-3 m/s. CFB typically runs at 5-10 m/s . formation and disintegration of particle agglomerates.

Fast Fluidized Bed (CFB) .

Combustion of fuel particles in a fluidized bed .

• Coal size used – 6 to 20 mm.Fluidized bed combustion of solid fuels • A type of furnace or reactor in which fuel particles are combusted while suspended in a stream of hot gas. • Types of FBC: • Bubbling fluidized bed combustion 1) Atmospheric 2) Pressurized • Circulating fluidized bed combustion 1) Atmospheric 2) Pressurized .

known as freeboard. The open space above this bed. • The secondary combustion air is injected into this section The boiler can be divided into three sections: 1. . • The vessel would generally hold bed materials. Bed 2.Bubbling fluidized bed (BFB) • A bubbling fluidized bed boiler comprises a fluidizing grate through which primary combustion air passes and a containing vessel. is enclosed by heatabsorbing tubes. which is either made of (lined with) refractory or heatabsorbing tubes. Freeboard 3. Back-pass or convective section.

Atmospheric Fluidized bed combustion • • • • • • • • Operating Pressure : 1 atm Temperature : 850 deg C Fluidizing velocity : 2-4 m/s Avg. bed material size : 1000 micron Fuels : Multi fuel Combustion efficiency : 90 – 99 % Pollutant emission control : very good Application : industrial boilers. . power generation.

Atmospheric Fluidized bed combustion .

Pressurized Fluidized bed combustion • • • • • • • • Operating Pressure : up to 16 atm Temperature : 850 deg C Fluidizing velocity : 1-1. bed material size : 1000 micron Fuels : Multi fuel Combustion efficiency : 99 % Pollutant emission control : Excellent Application : Combine cycle power generation .5 m/s Avg.

Pressurized Fluidized bed combustion .

Advantages of PFBC over AFBC • Increase in specific power output and hence potential reduction in capital cost • Increased power generation efficiency • Emissions of oxides of Nitrogen are substantially reduced. .

A CFB boiler is shown schematically in Figure The primary combustion air (usually substoichiometric in amount) is injected through the floor or grate of the furnace The secondary air is injected from the sides at a certain height above the furnace floor. The majority of the solids leaving the furnace is captured by a gas–solid separator. A fraction of the combustion heat is absorbed by water. Fuel is fed into the lower section of the furnace.Circulating Fluidized Bed combustion (CFBC) • • • • • • • In a CFB boiler furnace the gas velocity is sufficiently high to blow all the solids out of the furnace. known as the back-pass. .or steam-cooled surfaces located in the furnace. and is recirculated back to the base of the furnace. and the rest is absorbed in the convective section located further downstream. where it burns to generate heat.


combined cycle power generation power generation .Circulating FBC • • • • • • • • Operating Pressure : up to 16 atm (if pressurized) Temperature : 850 deg C Fluidizing velocity : 4-8 m/s Avg. bed material size : 200-350 micron Fuels : Multi fuel Combustion efficiency : 99 % Pollutant emission control : Excellent Application : industrial boilers.


Coal Gasification • The gasification of coal for use as a powerplant fuel is being considered as the supply of natural gas diminishes. • Coal gasification existed since 1800s ! • Intially gas was manufactured from coal and distributed as ‘town gas’ for smelting of iron and for burning etc. • The coke was placed in large beds and burned for a period with less than the stoichiometric quantity of air to give ‘producer gas’ .

. 76 N coke Air producer 2 gas • When the bed is heated to a high temperature. 76 N 2 ) → 2 CO + 3 . the flow of air is replaced by a flow of steam and water gas is produced. C + H 2 O → CO + H coke steam water 2 gas • The resultant mixture also called as ‘synthesis gas’ or ‘syn gas’ is a lower quality gas with a heating value of about 10 MJ/m3.Coal gasification process Low BTU gas: 2 C + ( O 2 + 3 .

Coal gasification .

.7 MJ/m3 and is a direct substitute for natural gas. The products of the above reaction are reacted over a nickel catalyst at a temperature of 1100 deg C and pressure of 6.Coal gasification process Medium BTU Gas: • If the product desired is a medium or high BTU gas. a synthesis gas “shift reaction” or conversion is used to produce additional hydrogen by reacting some of the CO with steam and removing CO2 from the products CO + H 2O → CO2 + H 2 High BTU gas: • The final step in producing a pipeline quality gas is called catalytic methanation.8 bar CO + 3H 2 → CH 4 + H 2O • The product gas is of a higher quality with heating value of 37.

Coal gasifier combined cycle power plant .