Co-firing straw with coal in a swirl-stabilized dual-feed burner: modelling and experimental validation

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This paper presents a comprehensive computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling study of co-firing wheat straw with coal in a 150 kW swirl-stabilized dual-feed burner flow reactor, in which the pulverized straw particles (mean diameter of 451μm) and coal particles (mean diameter of 110.4μm) are independently fed into the burner through two concentric injection tubes, i.e., the centre and annular tubes, respectively. Multiple simulations are performed, using three meshes, two global reaction mechanisms for homogeneous combustion, two turbulent combustion models, and two models for fuel particle conversion. It is found that for pulverized biomass particles of a few hundred microns in diameter the intra-particle heat and mass transfer is a secondary issue at most in their conversion, and the global four-step mechanism of Jones and Lindstedt may be better used in modelling volatiles combustion. The baseline CFD models show a good agreement with the measured maps of main species in the reactor. The straw particles, less affected by the swirling secondary air jet due to the large fuel/air jet momentum and large particle response time, travels in a nearly straight line and penetrate through the oxygen-lean core zone; whilst the coal particles are significantly affected by secondary air jet and swirled into the oxygen-rich outer radius with increased residence time (in average, 8.1s for coal particles vs. 5.2s for straw particles in the 3m high reactor). Therefore, a remarkable difference in the overall burnout of the two fuels is predicted: about 93% for coal char vs. 73% for straw char. As the conclusion, a reliable modelling methodology for pulverized biomass/coal co-firing and some useful co-firing design considerations are suggested.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBioresource Technology
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)4169-4178
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Biomass
  • Co-combustion
  • Low-NOx burner
  • CFD
  • Swirl


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