Formation and Control of Trace Metal Emissions in Co-Firing of Biomass, Peat, and Wastes in Fluidised Bed Combustors
Kouvo, Petri (2003)
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Acta Universitatis LappeenrantaensisURN:ISSN 1456-4491
Environmentally harmful consequences of fossil fuel utilisation andthe landfilling of wastes have increased the interest among the energy producers to consider the use of alternative fuels like wood fuels and Refuse-Derived Fuels, RDFs. The fluidised bed technology that allows the flexible use of a variety of different fuels is commonly used at small- and medium-sized power plants ofmunicipalities and industry in Finland. Since there is only one mass-burn plantcurrently in operation in the country and no intention to build new ones, the co-firing of pre-processed wastes in fluidised bed boilers has become the most generally applied waste-to-energy concept in Finland. The recently validated EU Directive on Incineration of Wastes aims to mitigate environmentally harmful pollutants of waste incineration and co-incineration of wastes with conventional fuels. Apart from gaseous flue gas pollutants and dust, the emissions of toxic tracemetals are limited. The implementation of the Directive's restrictions in the Finnish legislation is assumed to limit the co-firing of waste fuels, due to the insufficient reduction of the regulated air pollutants in the existing flue gas cleaning devices. Trace metals emission formation and reduction in the ESP, the condensing wet scrubber, the fabric filter, and the humidification reactor were studied, experimentally, in full- and pilot-scale combustors utilising the bubbling fluidised bed technology, and, theoretically, by means of reactor model calculations. The core of the model is a thermodynamic equilibrium analysis. The experiments were carried out with wood chips, sawdust, and peat, and their refuse-derived fuel, RDF, blends. In all, ten different fuels or fuel blends were tested. Relatively high concentrations of trace metals in RDFs compared to the concentrations of these metals in wood fuels increased the trace metal concentrations in the flue gas after the boiler ten- to hundred-folds, when RDF was co-fired with sawdust in a full-scale BFB boiler. In the case of peat, lesser increase in trace metal concentrations was observed, due to the higher initial trace metal concentrations of peat compared to sawdust. Despite the high removal rate of most of the trace metals in the ESP, the Directive emission limits for trace metals were exceeded in each of the RDF co-firing tests. The dominat trace metals in fluegas after the ESP were Cu, Pb and Mn. In the condensing wet scrubber, the flue gas trace metal emissions were reduced below the Directive emission limits, whenRDF pellet was used as a co-firing fuel together with sawdust and peat. High chlorine content of the RDFs enhanced the mercuric chloride formation and hence the mercury removal in the ESP and scrubber. Mercury emissions were lower than theDirective emission limit for total Hg, 0.05 mg/Nm3, in all full-scale co-firingtests already in the flue gas after the ESP. The pilot-scale experiments with aBFB combustor equipped with a fabric filter revealed that the fabric filter alone is able to reduce the trace metal concentrations, including mercury, in the flue gas during the RDF co-firing approximately to the same level as they are during the wood chip firing. Lower trace metal emissions than the Directive limits were easily reached even with a 40% thermal share of RDF co-firing with sawdust.Enrichment of trace metals in the submicron fly ash particle fraction because of RDF co-firing was not observed in the test runs where sawdust was used as the main fuel. The combustion of RDF pellets with peat caused an enrichment of As, Cd, Co, Pb, Sb, and V in the submicron particle mode. Accumulation and release oftrace metals in the bed material was examined by means of a bed material analysis, mass balance calculations and a reactor model. Lead, zinc and copper were found to have a tendency to be accumulated in the bed material but also to have a tendency to be released from the bed material into the combustion gases, if the combustion conditions were changed. The concentration of the trace metal in the combustion gases of the bubbling fluidised bed boiler was found to be a summary of trace metal fluxes from three main sources. They were (1) the trace metal flux from the burning fuel particle (2) the trace metal flux from the ash in the bed, and (3) the trace metal flux from the active alkali metal layer on the sand (and ash) particles in the bed. The amount of chlorine in the system, the combustion temperature, the fuel ash composition and the saturation state of the bed material in regard to trace metals were discovered to be key factors affecting therelease process. During the co-firing of waste fuels with variable amounts of e.g. ash and chlorine, it is extremely important to consider the possible ongoingaccumulation and/or release of the trace metals in the bed, when determining the flue gas trace metal emissions. If the state of the combustion process in regard to trace metals accumulation and/or release in the bed material is not known,it may happen that emissions from the bed material rather than the combustion of the fuel in question are measured and reported.
- Väitöskirjat