• IFRF Report – Medium and Low Calorific Value Gaseous Fuels

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As IFRF Members focus increasingly on the reduction of carbon emissions from industrial and power generation processes, there is a resurgence of interest in technology for the combustion of low calorific value gaseous fuels. Such fuels may include manufactured hydrogen or hydrogen rich fuels, syngases and by-product gases produced in certain industrial processes.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the IFRF undertook several furnace trials to provide user guidance on the use of Works By-Product Gases on high temperature and low temperature steelworks plant. The studies covered beneficiation techniques and their influence on plant efficiency and NOx formation, as well as an examination of low CV gas flame stability, and the control of low CV gas flames by radiation measurements. More recently, the IFRF has undertaken a survey of the current issues facing IFRF metals sector members relating to the increased use of their Works By-Product Gases . The survey also reviewed the previous IFRF work and identified opportunities arising from recent technical advances, together with the R&D that would be needed to exploit them. The survey was undertaken by Jeff Rhine and Neil Fricker of the University of Glamorgan as part of the European Commission supported EUROFLAM programme.

IFRF Report G130/y/01, which is now available for download, summarises the main findings of the IFRF’s earlier work. The review includes summaries of the key findings relating to efficiency, NOx emissions flame stability and process control. It was also recognised that the technology has moved on in a significant way since those trials were undertaken. In particular, developments of:

  • compact regenerators for higher air and fuel preheat
  • flameless combustion
  • computer based simulation techniques
  • modern sensors
  • real-time computer based flame control to take advantage of such sensors.

offer the prospect of step changes in the effectiveness and economics of low calorific value gases as industrial fuels.

The IFRF and its Members are now in a position to capitalise on these advances through the deployment of their unique experimental facilities in an integrated experimental and analytical R&D programme on hydrogen and hydrogen rich fuels. This prospect has already been recognised as one of the five options for the new IFRF Members Research Programme. IFRF Director Leo Tognotti (http://www.ifrf.net/contact_info.html), and IFRF Superintendent of Research Hartmut Spliethoff (spliethoff@tum.de) would be pleased to hear from organisations and members having an interest in taking such technologies further.

IFRF Members may download IFRF report G130/y/1 from (http://www.research.ifrf.net/research/document.html?did=41). In addition, the IFRF has prepared  some 17 Combustion Files making the results of these tests and associated information on the properties of low calorific value gaseous fuels more immediately accessible. Please go to www.handbook.ifrf.net and search on key words  such as by-product or low CV etc.