We have worked with the DoE in developing new technologies in this domain, and helped government and commercial clients examine the safety of various technologies.
- Fluidized Bed Combustion
- CO Emission in Gas-Fired Pulse Combustion Boilers
- Slurrying Coal in LCO2
- Coal-Water Slurry Fuel in Low-Speed Diesel Engine
- Self-Heating of Coal
- Coal Transfer System Fire
- Mining Fires
- Coal-Derived Low-Volatile Char for Utility Boilers
- Burning of Coal Slurry at High Pressure
- Coal Fires and Explosions
- Fuel Cells
For DOE, we developed an advanced concept in Fluidized Bed Combustion involving air modulation to improve performance. This project involved 3 phases: an analysis to identify and quantify the potential effects of flow modulation; critical tests on a bench-scale cold flow model; and a plan for validation tests on a larger-scale fluid bed combustor at DOE.
For a manufacturer of residential gas-fired pulse combustion boilers, we devised "critical" tests to determine whether excessive CO emission was due to flame quenching or poor mixing. Thus, we obviated the need for expensive, usually cut and try, prototype modification and testing
For a private company, we participated in developing an innovative technology for slurrying coal in liquid carbon dioxide. The project involved preliminary and detailed design of a 1 tpd pilot plant, its construction and operation, and system studies of potential applications.
We analyzed the burning of coal-water slurry fuel in a low-speed diesel engine. The analysis included atomization, droplet evaporation, transport and chemical reactions in the gas and solid phases. The times for these processes were calculated to determine rate-limiting steps.
For a number of clients, we investigated the self-heating of coal during transport by barge and in coal piles at utility plants. This occurred particularly for reactive coals from western states. The problem was mitigated by adopting better handling procedures, such as compacting the coal to minimize the availability of air inside the coal pile.
For an electric utility, we investigated a fire in a coal transfer system. The airflow through the screw feeder was so low that coal particles deposition and build-up occurred. A fire ensued when a hatch was opened during a maintenance operation.
For the Bureau of Mines, we assessed explosion and fire hazards associated with coal and metal mining. Mine disaster case histories were reviewed to identify typical chronology of events and dynamics of explosions, fires, miners and emergency crews. We analyzed gob, rib and electrical fires, coal pile self-heating and methane/coal dust explosions. We also evaluated various safety measures such as rock dusting, oxygen masks and fire curtains
We assessed the potential of burning a coal-derived, low-volatile char in utility boilers. We collected laboratory data and boiler operators experience data on the combustion of low-volatile fuels such as anthracite, petroleum coke, fluid coke and various chars. We identified potential problems with the subject char and means of alleviating them.
We modeled the burning of a coal slurry at high pressure. We accounted for atomization, droplet evaporation, transport, and chemical reactions in gas and solid phases. Process times were calculated to determine rate-limiting steps. The importance of particle slip was delineated.
For the coal industry, we assessed the explosion and fire hazards associated with coal and metal mining. Mine disaster case histories were reviewed to identify typical chronology of events and the dynamics of explosions, fires, miners and emergency crews. We analyzed gob, rib and electrical fires, and methane/coal dust explosions; and evaluated various mitigation measures such as rock dusting, oxygen masks and fire curtains. Also, we investigated the self-heating of coal piles (particularly reactive coals from western states) and its mitigation by coal compaction
Utilization of Rejected Heat from a Nuclear Reactor
We evaluated the feasibility of various options for utilizing the heat rejected from a 2,400 MW nuclear reactor. These included piping reactors’ effluents off-site to near-by industry; on-site options such as Rankine-cycle power generation, heat pump augmentation and direct uses; as well as cooling towers. Technical, economic and institutional factors were considered for each option.
We evaluated the potential of a number of biomass fuels and related combustion systems. These included the burning of agricultural wastes in a fluidized bed furnace, bagasse in a suspension-fired boiler, and wood chips and pellets in novel designs of wood stoves and central heating furnaces with automatic feeding systems.
Future Fuel Use in U.S. Plants
We surveyed a number of industrial and commercial establishments in the U.S. for future changes in fuel usage. These establishments included metal, plastic and pharmaceutical plants. The study covered efficiency improvements, cogeneration and fuel switching.
Energy Consumption and Process Economics at Textile Mills
For DOE, we evaluated the energy consumption and process economics at four textile mills of foam finishing and conventional wet finishing. In a parallel study in the polypropylene industry, we compared the new technology of converting waste atactic polypropylene into oil and fuel oils by fluidized bed cracking with conventional disposal of waste plastics in landfills.
Energy Conservation in the International Steel Industry
For the Office of Technology Assessment, we evaluated the steel industry in the U.S. and abroad to identify the factors influencing the rate of adoption of various energy saving options such as continuous castings, basic oxygen furnaces, argon-oxygen decarbonization, and use of formed coke.
Demonstration Program for Energy Technologies
We assisted the Government of Egypt and aided in planning a five-year, nationwide field test demonstration program of energy technologies such as waste heat recovery, solar process heat, small wind energy conversion, and photovoltaics. A variety of industries were surveyed. For each technology, candidate sites and conceptual designs of energy systems were identified to prepare specifications for a tender offer. We also participated in a bi-national committee to evaluate the bids and select a contractor to implement this project.
Potential for New Technologies in Electric Utility Plants
For a number of electric utilities, we evaluated plant heat rates and the potential of emerging technologies. Such technologies included fluidized bed boilers, combined cycle coal gasification, cleaning, micronization and slurrying of coal, and microprocessor-based controls.
Energy Audits in Food, Chemical, and Petroleum Industries
In Egypt and Bangladesh, we conducted energy audits of numerous plants in the food, chemical and petroleum industries. We conducted walk-through inspections; collected data using our own instruments; and recommended improvements such as boiler tune-up, cogeneration, etc.
Industrial Energy Conservation
In Egypt and Bangladesh, we conducted energy audits of numerous plants in the food, chemical and petroleum industries. We conducted walk-through inspections; collected data using plant instruments and portable instruments that we brought to the plants; and carried out cost/benefit analyses. We recommended energy conservation measures such as cogeneration, burner controls, fuel switching, waste heat recovery and insulation.
For DOE, we screened pulp and paper mills nationwide for their energy uses and selected two candidates’ mills for increased cogeneration capacity. The effort included contacting promising mills and visiting a large number of them to obtain detailed energy profiles over a day, month, and year.
For the State Energy Commission of Western Australia, we evaluated the economic feasibility and energy consequences of building a greenfield aluminum smelter. We conducted an energy analysis (with discounted cash flow) for various cost scenarios for aluminum, alumina and electricity.