Propagation of the Ignition Front against Airflow in Packed Beds of Wood Particles
Horttanainen, Mika (2001)
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Acta Universitatis LappeenrantaensisURN:ISSN:1456-4491
Combustion of wood is increasing because of the needs of decreasing the emissions of carbon dioxide and the amount of waste going to landfills. Wood based fuels are often scattered on a large area. The transport distances should be short enough to prevent too high costs, and so the size of heating and power plants using wood fuels is often rather small. Combustion technologies of small-size units have to be developed to reach efficient and environmentally friendly energy production. Furnaces that use different packed bed combustion or gasification techniques areoften most economic in small-scale energy production. Ignition front propagation rate affects the stability, heat release rate and emissions of packed bed combustion. Ignition front propagation against airflow in packed beds of wood fuels has been studied. The research has been carried out mainly experimentally. Theoretical aspects have been considered to draw conclusions about the experimental results. The effects of airflow rate, moisture content of the fuel, size, shape and density of particles, and porosity of the bed on the propagation rate of the ignition front have been studied. The experiments were carried out in a pot furnace. The fuels used in the experiments were mainly real wood fuels that are often burned in the production of energy. The fuel types were thin wood chips, saw dust, shavings, wood chips, and pellets with different sizes. Also a few mixturesof the above were tested. Increase in the moisture content of the fuel decreases the propagation rates of the ignition front and makes the range of possible airflow rates narrower because of the energy needed for the evaporation of water and the dilution of volatile gases due to evaporated steam. Increase in the airflow rate increases the ignition rate until a maximum rate of propagation is reached after which it decreases. The maximum flame propagation rate is not always reached in stoichiometric combustion conditions. Increase in particle size and density transfers the optimum airflow rate towards fuel lean conditions. Mixing of small and large particles is often advantageous, because small particles make itpossible to reach the maximum ignition rate in fuel rich conditions, and large particles widen the range of possible airflow rates. A correlation was found forthe maximum rate of ignition front propagation in different wood fuels. According to the correlation, the maximum ignition mass flux is increased when the sphericity of the particles and the porosity of the bed are increased and the moisture content of the fuel is decreased. Another fit was found between sphericity and porosity. Increase in sphericity decreases the porosity of the bed. The reasons of the observed results are discussed.
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