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Layer Formation on Bed Particles during Fluidized Bed Combustion and Gasification of Woody Biomass
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics, Energy Science.
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Although more than a hundred papers dealing with the agglomeration problem in combustion and gasification of biomass can be found in the literature, very few studies focusing on the bed particle layer formation process in fluidized bed combustion (FBC) and fluidized bed gasification (FBG) can be found. With increased knowledge of the bed particle layer formation process — i.e. the main route behind bed agglomeration and bed material deposition in wood combustion/gasification — suitable combinations of fuel/bed material and/or bed material management measures can be suggested. This would not only aim to reduce the risk of ash related operational problems but also to enhance the catalytic activity of the bed material (e.g. for tar removal in gasification). The present investigation was therefore undertaken to determine the layer formation process on and within typical bed materials (i.e. quartz and olivine) and for a potentially interesting new bed material, K-feldspar.

Bed material samples were collected from four different combustion and two different gasification appliances: two bubbling fluidized beds (BFB) (5 kWth/30 MWth), two full-scale circulating fluidized beds (CFB) (90/122 MWth), and two dual fluidized bed gasifiers (DFB) (8/15 MWth). Scanning electron microscopy/energy-dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) were used to explore layer morphology and elemental composition and to gain information about crystalline phases of the layers. Phase diagrams and thermodynamic equilibrium calculations (TECs) were used to interpret the melting behavior of the layers and the melt fragments in deposits. In addition, a diffusion model was used to interpret the layer growth process.

For quartz bed particles taken from BFB, the younger particles (< around 1 day) had only one thin layer, but for particles older than 3 days, the layer consisted of inner and outer layers. In addition to the inner and outer layers, a K-rich inner-inner layer was found for bed particles taken from CFB and DFB. No outer layers were found for quartz bed particles taken from DFB. The thin/absence of an outer layer could have resulted from the more significant attrition between particles in CFB and DFB. Reduced availability of Ca and a risk of layer breakage from the particle lead to the formation of the inner-inner layer. Similar elemental compositions of the layers upon the quartz bed particles taken from different fluidized bed techniques were found. The inner-inner layers are dominated by Si, K and Ca (excluding O), and the outer layers are rich in Ca, Si and Mg, which seem to resemble more closely the fuel ash composition. The inner layers, mainly consisted of Si and Ca, were found to have higher concentrations of Ca for older particles. The layer thickness increases with particle age, but the growth rate decreases. Melt was estimated to exist in the inner layer for younger particles (< around 1 day) and in the inner-inner layer. The existence of partially melted inner-inner layers, in particles from CFB and DFB, points towards higher risk of bed agglomeration in these techniques compared to BFB. Based on the experimental results, thermodynamic equilibrium calculations, and diffusion model analyses, a layer formation process on quartz bed particle was suggested: the layer formation is initiated by reaction of gaseous K compounds with quartz to form K-rich silicate melt, which prompts the diffusion of Ca2+. The gradual incorporation of Ca into the melt followed by the precipitation of Ca-silicates, e.g. Ca2SiO4, will result in the continuous inner layer growth. However, because of increasing concentration of Ca and release of K from the inner layer, the melt disappears in the inner layer and the layer formation process gradually becomes Ca diffusion controlled. The diffusion resistance increases with increasing thickness of a more Ca-rich layer, resulting in a decreasing layer growth rate.

Crack layers with similar compositions dominated by Si, K and Ca were observed in relatively old quartz bed particles. A melt was predicted to exist in the crack layer according to thermodynamic equilibrium calculations. The crack layers found in quartz particles from BFB and CFB connect with the cracks in the inner layer, whereas for bed samples collected from DFB, the crack layers were found along existing cracks in the quartz particle. The different morphologies may indicate different routes of formation for crack layers in bed particles from different fluidized bed technologies. For quartz particles from BFB and CFB, crack formation through the inner layer down to the interface between the inner layer and the core of quartz bed particle initiates the cracks in the quartz bed particle. This allows for diffusion of gaseous alkali compounds to react with quartz in the bed particle core, thereby forming crack layers. The reaction is accelerated with bridge formation between crack layers. This may later lead to the breakdown of the bed particle into smaller alkali-silicate-rich fragments.

For K-feldspar bed particles from BFB and CFB, only one layer was found for particles with an age of 1 day. For bed particles with ages older than 3 days, two layers including a homogenous inner layer containing cracks and a more particle-rich outer layer can be distinguished. Compared to bed particles from BFB with similar ages, the outer layer is thinner for bed particles from CFB. The inner layer is dominated by Ca, Si and Al (excluding O), whereas the outer layer is dominated by Ca, Si and Mg. The average concentration of Ca in the inner layer increases with bed particle age. Increasing layer thickness with decreasing growth rate was found, similar to that on quartz particles. For particles from DFB, the inner layer is also mainly consisted of Ca and Si, but cracks in the inner layer were not found. For all the particles, the Ca/Si molar ratio in the layer decreases towards the bed particle core and the change of concentration is more significant at the bed particle core/layer interface. The overall inner layer growth is resultant from the gradual incorporation of Ca into the layer.

For olivine bed particles from DFB, the younger bed particles (< around 24 h) have only one layer, but after 24 h, an inner layer and an outer layer appear. Furthermore, for bed particles older than 180 h, the inner layer is separated into a distinguishable Ca-rich and Mg-rich zone. Two kinds of cracks in the inner layer either perpendicular or parallel to the particle surface were observed. Compared to the younger bed particles, the Ca concentration in the layer of older particles is much higher. A detailed mechanism for layer formation on olivine particles in fluidized bed gasification (most likely also applicable to combustion) based on the interaction between woody biomass ash and olivine has been proposed. The proposed mechanism is based on a solid-solid substitution reaction. However, a possible enabling step in the form of a Ca2+ transport via melts may occur. Ca2+ is incorporated into the crystal structure of olivine by replacing either Fe2+ or Mg2+. This substitution occurs via intermediate states where Ca-Mg silicates, such as CaMgSiO4, are formed. Mg2+ released from the crystal structure most likely forms MgO, which can be found in a distinguishable zone between the main particle layers. Due to a difference in the bond lengths between Mg/Fe and incorporated Ca2+ with their respective neighboring oxygen atoms, the crystal structure shifts, resulting in formation of cracks.

The dominating elements in the inner layers are similar for each kind of bed material from BFB, CFB, and DFB, indicating limited effects of atmosphere on the inner layer formation. The initiation of layer formation differs depending on the bed material, but increasing Ca concentration in the inner layer with time for all bed materials indicates that the layer growth resulted from the incorporation of Ca into the layer. Compared to quartz, K-feldspar and olivine are more promising bed materials in wood combustion/gasification, especially in CFB and DFB techniques, from the perspective of mitigating bed agglomeration and bed material deposit build-up.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå tekniska universitet, 2017.
Series
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544
Keyword [en]
layer formation, bed particle, woody biomass, quartz, K-feldspar, olivine, bed agglomeration, deposition, fluidized bed, combustion, gasification
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Energy Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-63090ISBN: 978-91-7583-884-7 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7583-885-4 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-63090DiVA: diva2:1089527
Public defence
2017-06-16, E246, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-04-20 Created: 2017-04-20 Last updated: 2017-05-24Bibliographically approved

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