• IFRF Research overview

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The duties of the IFRF Superintendent of Research are to ensure the continuous renewal of the Foundation’s technological objectives and to participate in determining policy as it relates to financing the research activities.

In assuming these duties, I acknowledge and thank outgoing SoR Dr. Neil Fricker for his outstanding contribution to this role – as well as to many other facets of IFRF’s existence.  Neil’s will be a hard act to follow but I am delighted to maintain contact with IFRF and excited about this new commitment.

In the coming months, our intention in the research area is to continue in the direction defined in the 2012 Triennial Report (Doc no. K65/y/06). To briefly summarise, since our arrival at Livorno, we have focussed our use of the pilot scale furnaces and reactors at ENEL and the University of Pisa on the following topics: 

  • Solid Fuel combustion characterisation, based around coals, biomass and wastes, singly and co-fired
  • Firing solid fuels in oxy/RFG atmospheres including in-flame measurement and diagnostic techniques
  • CFD validation: filling gaps in data for numerical model validation, that is modeling and quantifying experimental uncertainties and creating data for new fuels and/or comburents, including the qualification of incomplete or unreliable data sets. 

As Member fees do not cover this aspect of IFRF’s work, progress has been dictated by our ability to secure external funding.  Going forward, the finance provided by the European Commission co-funded RELCOM and BRISK contracts will sustain some research activity in all three of the abovementioned areas.  These two projects run until December 2015.

The RELCOM project deals with Oxy-coal combustion for Carbon Capture and Storage, while BRISK facilitates access to experimental research facilities across the ligno-cellulosic biofuels value chain, and incorporates activities to further develop and network those facilities.  The latter is achieved via the establishment of a fully searchable database which lists and describes the combustion and biofuels test rigs of some 50 European industrial and research organizations.

Regarding RELCOM, technical reports will be published shortly on CFD sub-models and the results of tests performed at the end of last year on an ASSB burner in oxy-coal and aimed at completely characterizing the burner performance in different oxy-firing conditions.  Full scale tests are planned at CIUDEN (Spain) later in the year.  Tests are also planned in the framework of BRISK, in particular on second generation solid biofuels.  Gasification tests on agro-food waste biofuels are also planned for spring –summer 2014 on the downdraft gasifier in Pisa.

All these activities will serve to further enhance the IFRF Solid fuel database with data provided by experimental tests of different coals and biomasses in the Isothermal Plug Flow Reactor (IPFR).  This database is freely available for consultation by IFRF Members and benefitted considerably from updates during 2013 – see previous MNM article.

During 2014, modeling validation activities will continue in collaboration with the University of Pisa.  The scope of these activities is to define and test sub-models developed on the combustion and gasification pilot plants available in the two projects.

With funding requirements beyond 2015 top of mind, IFRF will be seeking partnership arrangements with Member organizations, both for private research projects, and, on a consortium basis, to access EU funding within the Horizon 2020 programme.  In support of this strategy, we will continue to develop and expand the IFRF European Facilities database

The research focus will be a monthly feature in MNM.  Next update in issue 4, Monday 17 February.