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Title: Low Emissions Burner Technology for Metal Processing Industry using Byproducts and Biomass Derived Liquid Fuels

This research and development efforts produced low-emission burner technology capable of operating on natural gas as well as crude glycerin and/or fatty acids generated in biodiesel plants. The research was conducted in three stages (1) Concept definition leading to the design and development of a small laboratory scale burner, (2) Scale-up to prototype burner design and development, and (3) Technology demonstration with field vefiication. The burner design relies upon the Flow Blurring (FB) fuel injection based on aerodynamically creating two-phase flow near the injector exit. The fuel tube and discharge orifice both of inside diameter D are separated by gap H. For H < 0.25D, the atomizing air bubbles into liquid fuel to create a two-phase flow near the tip of the fuel tube. Pressurized two-phase fuel-air mixture exits through the discharge orifice, which results in expansion and breakup of air bubbles yielding a spray with fine droplets. First, low-emission combustion of diesel, biodiesel and straight VO (soybean oil) was achieved by utilizing FB injector to yield fine sprays for these fuels with significantly different physical properties. Visual images for these baseline experiments conducted with heat release rate (HRR) of about 8 kW illustrate clean blue flames indicating premixed combustionmore » for all three fuels. Radial profiles of the product gas temperature at the combustor exit overlap each other signifying that the combustion efficiency is independent of the fuel. At the combustor exit, the NOx emissions are within the measurement uncertainties, while CO emissions are slightly higher for straight VO as compared to diesel and biodiesel. Considering the large variations in physical and chemical properties of fuels considered, the small differences observed in CO and NOx emissions show promise for fuel-flexible, clean combustion systems. FB injector has proven to be very effective in atomizing fuels with very different physical properties, and it offers a path forward to utilize both fossil and alternative liquid fuels in the same combustion system. In particular, experiments show that straight VO can be cleanly combusted without the need for chemical processing or preheating steps, which can result in significant economic and environmental benefits. Next, low-emission combustion of glycerol/methane was achieved by utilizing FB injector to yield fine droplets of highly viscous glycerol. Heat released from methane combustion further improves glycerol pre-vaporization and thus its clean combustion. Methane addition results in an intensified reaction zone with locally high temperatures near the injector exit. Reduction in methane flow rate elongates the reaction zone, which leads to higher CO emissions and lower NOx emissions. Similarly, higher air to liquid (ALR) mass ratio improves atomization and fuel pre-vaporization and shifts the flame closer to the injector exit. In spite of these internal variations, all fuel mixes of glycerol with methane produced similar CO and NOx emissions at the combustor exit. Results show that FB concept provides low emissions with the flexibility to utilize gaseous and highly viscous liquid fuels, straight VO and glycerol, without preheating or preprocessing the fuels. Following these initial experiments in quartz combustor, we demonstrated that glycerol combustion can be stably sustained in a metal combustor. Phase Doppler Particle Analyzer (PDPA) measurements in glycerol/methane flames resulted in flow-weighted Sauter Mean Diameter (SMD) of 35 to 40 μm, depending upon the methane percentage. This study verified that lab-scale dual-fuel burner using FB injector can successfully atomize and combust glycerol and presumably other highly viscous liquid fuels at relatively low HRR (<10 kW). For industrial applications, a scaled-up glycerol burner design thus seemed feasible.« less
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Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
University Of Alabama
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Country of Publication:
United States