• IFRF Research – Status update

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As the new year begins, we are defining the timetable for the research activities to be carried out at IFRF headquarters on the projects to be confunded by the European Union, ENEL and other IFRF Member Organisations.

The work to establish an oxy-coal or oxy-natural gas capability on the FoSper furnace (= the former IFRF No 1 Furnace) is now complete.  In addition to new oxygen, RFG and coal supply systems, the furnace is now fitted with sealed access ports that are vitally important to reducing air ingress when operating under oxy-combustion conditions.  FoSper is now one of the few experimental rigs allowing access to Oxy/RFG/Coal and Oxy/RFG/Gas flames at a pilot scale of 2 to 3 MW. 

During November last year, FoSper was used to collect deposits for corrosion studies within an OXY/RFG/Coal flame.  This was part of the EC co-funded OXYCORR2 project.  During the same period, IFRF Member ENEA undertook additional measurements to continue the development of their ODC probe.  Tests demonstrated that the diagnostic system is able to monitor the existence of different combustion regimes and transitions between them, and to capture, even in semi-quantitative terms, important characteristics of the emission related to the flow field and the temperature profile in the furnace, highlighting the existence of frequencies typical for all operating conditions.  The use of the ODC system for monitoring and controlling the combustion of pilot furnace and industrial plant, in non-conventional (MILD) and oxy-fuel regimes appears promising.  Further tests will be carried out in 2012, together with semi-industrial tests on burners and special fuels.  An IFRF report on the testing of this new device is being compiled.

In-flame measuring instruments
In parallel with experimental activity, upgrades to probe carriages and in-flame measuring instruments continue as the IFRF re-establishes its measurement capabilities and seeks to quantify the uncertainties in in-flame/furnace measurements.  The programme for enhancing gas sampling and analysis capabilities by on-line FTIR system is underway.  This will allow the evaluation of minor species and pollutant precursors in flame.  As mentioned in MNM last November, this work is throwing up some interesting challenges, and IFRF would still be keen to hear from Members who might like us to arrange for an EFRI style ‘users’ workshop in this area.  Please contact Leo Tognotti.

IFRF Solid fuel database
The IFRF Solid fuel database is growing, with data provided by experimental tests on Isothermal Plug Flow Reactor (IPFR) on different coals and biomasses.  More tests are planned in 2012 in the context of the EU RELCOM and BRISK Projects.  BRISK  features a Transnational Access mechanism which will give partners the opportunity to share experimental tests, providing information on coal and biomass combustion characteristics within different atmospheres (e.g. O2/N2, O2/CO2).

Isothermal Plug Flow Reactor
The ODC optical technique has been applied at IPFR as well, to obtain information on the combustion of solid fuel dense streams.  The optical probes were found able to capture the passage of coal streams and to identify different phenomena (e.g. volatiles ignition, char oxidation).  The spatial arrangement of the probes was studied in order to allow also deriving quantitative information (such as particle velocity, ignition delay and devolatilization time) from the correlation of four single signals.  Results are of great interest as the derivation of heterogeneous and homogeneous kinetics in O2/CO2 atmosphere is acknowledged to be one of the main research needs for the development of oxy-combustion technology.  A specific report on this technique is in preparation and will be published shortly.

The IPFR is fully operational also for investigating the formation and fate of aerosols when firing coal and biomass blends in the presence of sulphur oxides.  The system was equipped with a special chimney to reproduce temperature-time histories in fouling region and with an ELPI Dekati for aerosol quantitative assessment.  The methodology and the results obtained will be the subject of an IFRF report in a couple of months.  IFRF Members wishing to know more about this activity prior to publication should approach IFRF Director Leo Tognotti in the first instance.

The next research update will be published in the February 20 edition of MNM.