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Entrained flow studies on biomass fuel powder conversion and ash formation
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Applied Physics and Electronics. (TEC-lab)
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Partikelomvandling och askbildning i pulverflammor (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

Reducing the global dependence on fossil fuels is of paramount importance in tackling the environmental challenges we face, not only tomorrow, but already today. Biomass offers a renewable supply of CO2-neutral raw material that can be converted into many different forms of fuels and valuable chemicals, making it a prime candidate for the technologies of tomorrow. However, the heterogeneous nature and distinctly different elemental composition of biomass compared to traditional fossil sources present new challenges to be solved. When it comes to thermochemical technologies, key issues concern fuel conversion efficiency, ash formation, ash/fuel interactions and ash/reactor material interactions.

The objective of the present thesis was to provide new knowledge and insights into thermochemical fuel conversion, in particular its application in entrained flow technologies. A laboratory-scale reactor was constructed, evaluated and was used to study several aspects of high-temperature entrained flow biomass fuel conversion. Pulverized fuel particles from different biomass sources were used, and their physical and chemical interactions with the surrounding atmosphere, the concurrent ash element release, ash formation, and phase interactions were also studied in detail. In addition to the entrained flow reactor designed and constructed for this purpose, the main method for data collection was in situ optical studies of converting particles, either while entrained in the flow or when impacting upon surfaces. Elemental composition analysis of collected samples and gas analysis were also performed, allowing for a deeper understanding of ash element fractionation and interactions and thus explaining the observed properties of the resulting deposits or slag.

The degree of conversion of fuels with very low ash content, such as stem wood, was well described and modeled by a novel method using optical data, offering a non-intrusive and non-destructive alternative to traditional techniques. Coupling computational fluid dynamics with optical data allowed for improved experimental data interpretation and provided improved accuracy for fuel particle residence time estimations, which is an important parameter when studying fast chemical reactions such as those taking place in reactors for entrained flow conditions. The results from studies on ash formation gave new insights into the feasibility of using dry-mixed K-rich additives for improving slag properties during gasification of Ca-rich and Si-rich fuels. Interpretations of the experimental results were supported by thermodynamic equilibrium calculations, and the conclusions highlight both possibilities and challenges in gasification with high fuel flexibility while at the same time producing a flowing slag. Applications and future implications are discussed, and new topics of interest are presented.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University , 2018. , p. 63
Keywords [en]
Thermochemical biomass conversion, particle image velocimetry, gasification, entrained flow reactor, ash transformation, equilibrium calculations, slag formation
National Category
Inorganic Chemistry Chemical Engineering Energy Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-152332ISBN: 978-91-7601-937-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-152332DiVA, id: diva2:1252745
Public defence
2018-10-26, N430, Naturvetarhuset, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Bio4EnergySwedish Research CouncilSwedish Energy AgencyAvailable from: 2018-10-05 Created: 2018-10-02 Last updated: 2018-10-18Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Size, shape, and density changes of biomass particles during rapid devolatilization
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Size, shape, and density changes of biomass particles during rapid devolatilization
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2017 (English)In: Fuel, ISSN 0016-2361, E-ISSN 1873-7153, Vol. 206, p. 342-351Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Particle properties such as size, shape and density play significant roles on particle flow and flame propagationin pulverized fuel combustion and gasification. A drop tube furnace allows for experiments athigh heating rates similar to those found in large-scale appliances, and was used in this study to carryout experiments on pulverized biomass devolatilization, i.e. detailing the first stage of fuel conversion.The objective of this study was to develop a particle conversion model based on optical informationon particle size and shape transformation. Pine stem wood and wheat straw were milled and sieved tothree narrow size ranges, rapidly heated in a drop tube setup, and solid residues were characterized usingoptical methods. Different shape descriptors were evaluated and a shape descriptor based on particleperimeter was found to give significant information for accurate estimation of particle volume. The opticalconversion model developed was proven useful and showed good agreement with conversion measuredusing a reference method based on chemical analysis of non-volatilized ash forming elements.The particle conversion model presented can be implemented as a non-intrusive method for in-situ monitoringof particle conversion, provided density data has been calibrated.

Keywords
PIV, DTR, Pyrolysis, Biomass conversion
National Category
Other Chemical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-136564 (URN)10.1016/j.fuel.2017.06.009 (DOI)000405805800035 ()
Projects
Bio4Energy
Available from: 2017-06-19 Created: 2017-06-19 Last updated: 2019-09-06Bibliographically approved
2. Design and validation of an advanced entrained flow reactor system for studies of rapid solid biomass fuel particle conversion and ash formation reactions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Design and validation of an advanced entrained flow reactor system for studies of rapid solid biomass fuel particle conversion and ash formation reactions
2018 (English)In: Review of Scientific Instruments, ISSN 0034-6748, E-ISSN 1089-7623, Vol. 89, no 6, article id 065101Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The design and validation of a newly commissioned entrained flow reactor is described in the present paper. The reactor was designed for advanced studies of fuel conversion and ash formation in powder flames, and the capabilities of the reactor were experimentally validated using two different solid biomass fuels. The drop tube geometry was equipped with a flat flame burner to heat and support the powder flame, optical access ports, a particle image velocimetry (PIV) system for in situ conversion monitoring, and probes for extraction of gases and particulate matter. A detailed description of the system is provided based on simulations and measurements, establishing the detailed temperature distribution and gas flow profiles. Mass balance closures of approximately 98% were achieved by combining gas analysis and particle extraction. Biomass fuel particles were successfully tracked using shadow imaging PIV, and the resulting data were used to determine the size, shape, velocity, and residence time of converting particles. Successful extractive sampling of coarse and fine particles during combustion while retaining their morphology was demonstrated, and it opens up for detailed time resolved studies of rapid ash transformation reactions; in the validation experiments, clear and systematic fractionation trends for K, Cl, S, and Si were observed for the two fuels tested. The combination of in situ access, accurate residence time estimations, and precise particle sampling for subsequent chemical analysis allows for a wide range of future studies, with implications and possibilities discussed in the paper.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Institute of Physics (AIP), 2018
National Category
Other Physics Topics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-147729 (URN)10.1063/1.5030603 (DOI)000437195200054 ()29960572 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85048128383 (Scopus ID)
Projects
Bio4Energy
Available from: 2018-05-15 Created: 2018-05-15 Last updated: 2019-09-02Bibliographically approved
3. Distribution of temperature, H2O and atomic potassium during entrained flow biomass combustion: coupling in situ TDLAS with modeling approaches and ash chemistry
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Distribution of temperature, H2O and atomic potassium during entrained flow biomass combustion: coupling in situ TDLAS with modeling approaches and ash chemistry
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2018 (English)In: Combustion and Flame, ISSN 0010-2180, E-ISSN 1556-2921, Vol. 188, p. 488-497Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy (TDLAS) is employed for simultaneous detection of gas temperature, water vapor (H2O) and gas-phase atomic potassium, K(g), in an atmospheric, research-scale entrained flow reactor (EFR). In situ measurements are conducted at four different locations in the EFR core to study the progress of thermochemical conversion of softwood and Miscanthus powders with focus on the primary potassium reactions. In an initial validation step during propane flame operation, the measured axial EFR profiles of H2O density-weighted, path-averaged temperature, path-averaged H2O concentration and H2O column density are found in good agreement with 2D CFD simulations and standard flue gas analysis. During biomass conversion, temperature and H2O are significantly higher than for the propane flame, up to 1500 K and 9%, respectively, and K(g) concentrations between 0.2 and 270 ppbv are observed. Despite the large difference in initial potassium content between the fuels, the K(g) concentrations obtained at each EFR location are comparable, which highlights the importance of considering all major ash-forming elements in the fuel matrix. For both fuels, temperature and K(g) decrease with residence time, and in the lower part of the EFR, K(g) is in excellent agreement with thermodynamic equilibrium calculations evaluated at the TDLAS-measured temperatures and H2O concentrations. However, in the upper part of the EFR, where the measured H2O suggested a global equivalence ratio smaller than unity, K(g) is far below the predicted equilibrium values. This indicates that, in contrast to the organic compounds, potassium species rapidly undergo primary ash transformation reactions even if the fuel particles reside in an oxygen-deficient environment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: Elsevier, 2018
Keywords
Tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy (TDLAS), Atomic potassium, Entrained flow reactor, Biomass combustion, Thermodynamic equilibrium calculations, Computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
National Category
Atom and Molecular Physics and Optics Chemical Process Engineering Inorganic Chemistry
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-141456 (URN)10.1016/j.combustflame.2017.10.013 (DOI)000424859100040 ()
Projects
Bio4Energy
Available from: 2017-11-06 Created: 2017-11-06 Last updated: 2019-09-02Bibliographically approved
4. Slag Formation during Entrained Flow Gasification: Silicon Rich Grass Fuel with KHCO3 Additive
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Slag Formation during Entrained Flow Gasification: Silicon Rich Grass Fuel with KHCO3 Additive
2018 (English)In: Energy & Fuels, ISSN 0887-0624, E-ISSN 1520-5029, Vol. 32, no 10, p. 10720-10726Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Prediction of ash particle adherence to walls, melting, and flow properties are important for successful operation of slagging entrained flow gasifiers. In the present study, silicon-rich reed canary grass was gasified at 1000 and 1200 °C with solid KHCO3 added at 0, 1, or 5 wt % to evaluate the impact and efficiency of the dry mixed additive on slag properties. The fuel particles collided with an angled flat impact probe inside the hot reactor, constructed to allow for particle image velocimetry close to the surface of the probe. Ash deposit layer buildup was studied in situ as well as ash particle shape, size, and velocity as they impacted on the probe surface. The ash deposits were analyzed using scanning electron microscopy–energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, giving detailed information on morphology and elemental composition. Results were compared to thermodynamic equilibrium calculations for phase composition and viscosity. The experimental observations (slag melting, flow properties, and composition) were in good qualitative agreement with the theoretical predictions. Accordingly, at 1000 °C, no or partial melts were observed depending upon the potassium/silicon ratio; instead, high amounts of additive and a temperature of at least 1200 °C were needed to create a flowing melt.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018
National Category
Energy Engineering Other Chemical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-151688 (URN)10.1021/acs.energyfuels.8b02545 (DOI)000448087000068 ()2-s2.0-85053900505 (Scopus ID)
Projects
Bio4Energy
Available from: 2018-09-10 Created: 2018-09-10 Last updated: 2019-08-30Bibliographically approved
5. Slag Formation During Entrained Flow Gasification: Calcium Rich Bark Fuel with KHCO3 Additive
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Slag Formation During Entrained Flow Gasification: Calcium Rich Bark Fuel with KHCO3 Additive
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Managing slag properties is of utmost importance for successful operation of entrained flow gasifiers. The present study details some aspects of slag formed from a softwood bark fuel, and especially the situation with only small amounts of mineral contaminants, meaning composition is shifted from Si- towards P-dominated ash. Wood bark with and without KHCO3 additive was gasified between 850 °C and 1300 °C at O2 stoichiometric ratio (λ) 0.6 to study the resulting ash properties and the influence of the additive. The ash particles collided with a flat impact probe inside the hot reactor, with particle impact angles varied between 90° to 30°. The reactor and probe were constructed to allow for long-distance microscope data collection close to the surface of the probe. In situ PIV and SEM-EDS of deposit samples from lab scale entrained flow gasification experiments were used for evaluation, while XRD was used to characterize carbonates. High potassium release was found but numerous spherical ash particles indicated lower ash melting temperatures than expected from the bulk ash composition. These new findings propose a mechanism for melt formations involving carbonates rich in potassium and phosphorous, followed by K-release and calcination leading to solidification.

National Category
Inorganic Chemistry Energy Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-152329 (URN)
Available from: 2018-10-02 Created: 2018-10-02 Last updated: 2018-10-04

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