• Status of research projects at IFRF research station

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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 which ENEL and other Member Organisations are co-funding.

One of the main activities will be devoted to generating new semi-industrial data sets for  validation of comprehensive combustion models.  New technological drivers are in the field of CCS (Carbon Capture and Sequestration), in particular oxy-combustion.

The main IFRF test rig (FO.SPER/ No 1 furnace) having been upgraded to Oxygen/RFG operation, tests will continue this year with the objectives to:

  • investigate the feasibility of oxy-coal combustion with external flue gas recirculation;
  • study the retrofitting issues to identify those which could arise in industrial scale plants;
  • define recycle criteria for maintaining the heat exchanging performance of conventional combustion; 
  • perform parametric investigations to evaluate the effect of some parameters, (for example the oxygen injection mode) on combustion characteristics and make a comparison with the air-case;
  • perform oxy-combustion trials with specifically designed oxy-coal burners and develop burner design guidelines.

The first tests on FOSPER were initiated in 2009 as part of the FP7 Friendly Coal project – an IFRF activity covered by ENEL and EU funding – and are reported in IFRF Doc. No. F 110/y/01.  Runs in oxy-coal conditions on different reference burners will start again in March this year.  A detailed time schedule of tests will be circulated through MNM shortly.

In parallel with experimental activity, upgrades to probe carriages and in-flame measuring instruments are in progress: IFRF is focussing on re-establishing measurement capabilities, and has undertaken to quantify the uncertainties in in-flame/furnace measurements. 

A new 5 hole pitot tube has been designed and calibrated and a programme for enhancing gas sampling and analysis capabilities by on-line FTIR system is on the way.  This will allow the evaluation of minor species and pollutant precursors in flame.

At the same time, activities are in progress on the individuation and definition of Validation and Uncertainties Quantification criteria for experimental data and model outputs, as discussed at the IFRF 16th Member Conference. (Click on the link to the Workshop on Tuesday 9 June.)

IFRF, together with the University of Pisa and other Member Organisations, is using past and new IFRF reports on AASB/TEAC conventional and oxy-combustion in FO.SPER/Furnace #1 as the database for model validation and benchmarking.  A future MNM will focus on the re-launch of this project which will galvanise the online CFD forum and involve more Member Organisations.  An important milestone will be the CFD Validation Workshop on Wednesday 16 June in Renfrew, Scotland, immediately prior to the Joint Committe meeting.

A final word on the IFRF Solid fuel database.  This resource is developing as experimental tests on different coals are being run on the rebuilt and recommissioned Isothermal Plug Flow Reactor (IPFR).  Experimental campaigns are planned all year long on IPFR (funded by ENEL and EDF), providing coal (and biomass) devolatilization and char combustion tests with different atmospheres (e.g. O2/N2, O2/CO2). 

Another objective of the project is to provide common solid fuel characterisation guidelines and procedures, and launch a benchmarking activity on solid fuel characterisation through the EFRI programme.  In parallel, a CFD model of the IPFR experiment has been developed which provides information which may be used for deriving kinetics.  The results are of great interest as the derivation of devolatilization and char oxidation kinetics in O2/CO2 atmosphere is acknowledged to be one of the main research needs for the development of oxy-combustion technology.  The online SFDB forum will carry information on related initiatives in the near future.

For access to any of IFRF’s three online forums – CFD, EFRI, SFDB, please contact Tracey Biller.