Research results from Chalmers University of Technology have revealed that a certain bed material will improve the combustion of waste and biomass while decreasing the operating and maintenance costs of today’s commercial boilers. Based on the findings, combined heat and power technology are relatively interesting from the perspective of profit and climate particularly for smarter next generation designs.
The discovery on how metal oxide oxygen-carrying properties can be used in circulating fluidized bed (CFB) boilers have been verified and scaled up in laboratories to commercial reality in real time. Silica sand is typically used in boilers but it was replaced by ilmenite-based bed material in the form of sand to even out heat fluctuations while making the combustion of fuel more efficient.
Compared to regular sand, iron titanium material ilmenite and other metal oxides have a clear advantage because they can transport oxygen into the combustion chamber in places where there is an abundance of oxygen to places where there is depletion. When an oxygen-carrying bed material is circulated inside the chamber and it mixes with fuel, oxygen will be evenly distributed in the space.
The positive effects of using iron titanium material ilmenite are uniformity and efficiency in combustion to increase the boiler’s efficiency. The emission of carbon monoxide will be significantly lower and so with ash fouling. Operation and maintenance are also expected to be reduced in most of the fluidized bed combustors plants all over the world.
Another advantage which is crucial to meet climate goals is the ability to burn difficult fuels like coarse waste. This will be the solution to the problems of most boiler producers on how to avoid unburned fuel in a commercial boiler. This is also a solution that is beneficial to both the environment and economy. The technology will also benefit boilers in modern heat and power plants that use various forms of biofuel.
The key factor to the success of Chalmers University of Technology is the fact that Chalmers Power Plant happens to contain the world’s largest research boiler which was made available for the research.
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