• IFRF submits European Combustion Laboratory Network Proposal

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A consortium of 21 European Research laboratories, drawn from nine European countries and coordinated by the IFRF has developed  a proposal for closer cooperation in the use of 35 of their existing research rigs within a new trans-European Combustion and Gasification Research Infrastructure. 

The Proposal has been submitted for funding under the  European Commission’s 7th R&D Framework Capacities Programme. This action is a direct consequence of a 2007 decision by the IFRF’s Joint Committee to pursue a new European Flame Research Initiative (EFRI). The proposed infrastructure will:
• link 21 leading centres of industrial combustion and gasification research located in 9 different EU countries, providing good geographic coverage across the continent with an even spread of facilities and expertise in north, west, east, central and southern Europe;

• cover every type of fuel currently burned or targeted for gasification by European Industry, including the new fuels such as bio-oils, bio-gas, biomass, and wastes;

• network 16 state-of-the-art single burner combustion rigs covering more than 3 orders of magnitude of thermal power from 30kW to 80MW;

• bring together three rarer multi-burner test rigs including a multi-burner oxy-coal combustion rig which is the only one of its type in the world;

• unify the capabilities of 5 experimental gasifiers capable of test gasifying all the potential new raw materials of current interest;

• synergise 4 of Europe’s most advanced gas turbine research facilities with test capabilities ranging from 100kW to 5 MW at operating pressures from 1 to 30 Bar;

• coordinate the activities of 9 diverse solid fuel combustion characterisation rigs, providing, for the first time, an integrated capability to undertake comparative fuel studies on similar rigs.  It will also be possible to characterise a wider range of newly emerging solid fuels and solid fuel blends more quickly than could ever be envisaged if these facilities continued to operate in isolation.

The Network will assemble an unprecedented capability in ‘in-flame’ and ‘in-reactor’ measuring techniques, ranging from optical and laser based systems to the most robust and largest industrial type probes.  New opportunities would be created for cross-laboratory and cross-process sector technology transfer in the area of in-flame and in-reactor measurements.

The EC funding will enable EFRI to provide 200 opportunities for  low cost third party access to state of the art test rigs for up to 400 Users over a 4 year period.

Within the proposal, EC funding has also been requested for Joint Research Activities aimed at enhancing the operation of the Network through the development and application of common protocols for the creation, storage and dissemination of new data.  Research activities have been proposed around the following themes:

• New combustion technologies
• Gas turbine combustion of alternative fuels
• Production and use of syngases
• Clean coal technologies
• Fuel preparation, characterisation and thermal behavior

Networking activities have also been proposed within the cross-cutting disciplines of ‘measurement techniques’ and ‘CFD validation’.

The EC’s decision is expected in early summer this year.  In the meantime, the IFRF Executive Committee will be considering all the options open to the IFRF in order to convert its European Flame Research Initiative into a European Flame Research Infrastructure.

Organisations (including IFRF Members) wishing to have further information about EFRI or to express an interest (without commitment) in becoming Users of or Suppliers to any future EFRI Network should contact the IFRF’s Neil Fricker as soon as possible on this link