Research Papers: Fuel Combustion

Nitrogen-Bearing Emissions From Burning Corn Straw in a Fixed-Bed Reactor: Effects of Fuel Moisture, Torrefaction, and Air Flowrate

[+] Author and Article Information
Emad Rokni

Department of Mechanical and
Industrial Engineering,
Northeastern University,
360 Huntington Avenue, 334 SN,
Boston, MA 02116
e-mail: rokni.e@husky.neu.edu

Yu Liu

Institute of Thermal Science and Technology,
Shandong University,
Jinan, Shandong 250061, China
e-mail: liuyu2017@sdu.edu.cn

Xiaohan Ren

Institute of Thermal Science and Technology,
Shandong University,
Jinan, Shandong 250061, China
e-mail: xiaohan09126@gmail.com

Yiannis A. Levendis

Fellow ASME
Department of Mechanical and
Industrial Engineering,
College of Engineering,
Northeastern University,
360 Huntington Avenue, 334 SN,
Boston, MA 02116
e-mail: y.levendis@neu.edu

1Corresponding authors.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received May 11, 2018; final manuscript received October 11, 2018; published online February 14, 2019. Editor: Hameed Metghalchi.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 141(8), 082202 (Feb 14, 2019) (10 pages) Paper No: JERT-18-1334; doi: 10.1115/1.4042564 History: Received May 11, 2018; Revised October 11, 2018

Combustion-generated emissions of acid gases, such as nitrogen-bearing species, constitute environmental pollutants and some are subjected to environmental regulations. Assessment of such emissions is important to decide what systems need to be put in place for their control. This applies to both conventional fossil fuels and for alternative environmentally friendlier fuels, such as renewable biomass. This research investigated the emissions of nitrogen-bearing gases, which evolve from combustion of biomass (corn straw) in a fixed bed furnace, as a function of specific air flowrate (m˙air) through the bed and of moisture content of the fuel. The effect of torrefaction of corn straw on the combustion-generated nitrogen bearing emissions was also examined. The predominant nitrogen-bearing species in the combustion effluents were hydrogen cyanide (HCN), nitrogen oxide (NO), and ammonia (NH3). Increasing m˙air through the bed, to enhance the combustion rate, increased the emissions of HCN, NO, and NH3. As the m˙air through the bed increased by a factor of 5, the amounts of HCN, NO, and NH3 gases increased by factors of 3–4. As the moisture content of the biomass was reduced by drying, the combustion-generated emissions of NO increased mildly, whereas those of both NH3 and HCN decreased. Furthermore, the combustion-generated emissions of NO and NH3 from torrefied biomass were found to be higher than those from raw biomass. In contrast, the combustion-generated emissions of HCN from torrefied biomass were found to be lower than those generated from raw biomass.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Photographs of (a) raw and (b) torrefied corn straw biomass

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Fig. 2

Schematic of the fixed bed furnace experimental setup for combustion of biomass

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Fig. 3

Bed temperature—time histories for (a)–(e) raw corn straw and (f) torrefied corn straw at the thermocouple locations listed in Table 2 (different heights of the fixed bed from the grate location): (a) raw corn straw at 0.025 kg m−2 s−1, (b) raw corn straw at 0.05 kg m−2 s−1, (c) raw corn straw at 0.075 kg m−2 s−1, (d) raw corn straw at 0.125 kg m−2 s−1, (e) raw corn straw at 0.17 kg m−2 s−1, and (f) torrefied corn straw at 0.17 kg m−2 s−1 at different primary air flow rates

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Fig. 4

NO, HCN, and NH3 emissions (μg/unit gram corn straw) during combustion of raw corn straw at different primary m˙air through the bed: (a) 0.025 kg m−2 s−1, (b) 0.05 kg m−2 s−1, (c) 0.075 kg m−2 s−1, (d) 0.125 kg m−2 s−1, and (e) 0.17 kg m−2 s−1

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Fig. 5

(a) Mass emissions, (b) emission factors of N to NO, HCN and NH3 during corn straw combustion at different primary m˙air (kg m−2s−1), and (c) conversion of fuel-N to products, assuming that all these products originate from fuel-bound nitrogen: (a) mass emissions, (b) emission factors, and (c) conversion of fuel-N to NO, HCN, and NH3

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Fig. 6

(a) NO, (b) HCN, and (c) NH3 mass emissions (μg/unit gram corn straw) during raw and torrefied corn straw combustion in a fixed bed furnace with the m˙air of 0.17 kg m−2s−1: (a) NO emissions at 0.17 kgm−2s−1 (b) NH3 emissions at 0.17 kg m−2s−1, and (c) HCN emissions at 0.17 kg m−2s−1

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Fig. 7

(a) Mass emissions of NO, HCN, and NH3 (b) conversion of N to NO, HCN and NH3 during raw and torrefied corn straw combustion in a fixed bed, assuming that all products originate from fuel-bound nitrogen. The primary m˙air through the bed was 0.17 kg m−2s−1: (a) mass emissions and (b) conversion of fuel-N to NO, HCN, and NH3.

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Fig. 8

(a) NO, (b) HCN, and (c) NH3 mass emissions (μg/unit gram corn straw) at different corn straw moisture contents (M): (a) NO emissions at different moisture content, (b) HCN emissions at different moisture content, and (c) NH3 emissions at different moisture content

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Fig. 9

N conversion (%) to (a) NO (b) HCN and (c) NH3 during the torrefaction of raw corn straw biomass: (a) fuel-N conversion to NO, (b) fuel-N conversion to HCN, and (c) fuel-N conversion to NH3



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