REI can provide experimental solutions from lab- and pilot-scale to full-scale demonstrations. REI teams with a number of universities that have state-of-the-art experimental facilities. The combination of CFD modeling with lab- and pilot-scale testing tailored specifically to a client’s needs provides a level of understanding difficult to achieve elsewhere. In addition, REI’s engineers have extensive on-site experience with planning, oversight, and review of measurement campaigns.
For example, REI and the Combustion Research Group at the University of Utah have received several million dollars from the Department of Energy to extend the capabilities of their facilities and to lead major initiatives focusing on cleaner and more efficient utilization of coal, including programs on Low Emissions Boiler Systems (LEBS), High Performance Power Systems (HiPPs) and several Program Research and Development Awards (PRDAs) that address NOx, fuel efficiency, corrosion, and air toxic issues in coal-fired boilers. Previously, the combustion group teamed with others at the University of Utah, as well as participants from Brigham Young University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, to win the DOE-ASCI Center for the Simulation of Accidental Fires and Explosions (C-SAFE).
Recent program awards include the characterization fine particles generated from combustion sources as part of the Strategic Environmental Research & Development Program (SERDP), fabrication and field testing of a prototype high-temperature, in-situ corrosion monitor for coal-fired boilers, and design, fabrication and field testing of a slipstream reactor for SCR catalyst evaluation in coal-fired power plants.
REI’s experimental experience includes:
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REI, in collaboration with Corrosion Management (Manchester, UK), has developed and tested an advanced, real-time, corrosion monitoring technology for application tohigh temperature combustion environments. This technology provides immediate response, high sensitivity, and the potential for quantitative corrosion measurements over a range of conditions. The need for effective corrosion monitoring and management has increased with the recent wide-spread adoption of low-NOx firing systems for cost-effective control of NOx emissions. The resulting reducing conditions and flame impingement on waterwalls have sometimes led to unacceptable corrosion and/or limitations on the extent of potential reductions of NOx emissions. The ability to understand, monitor, and manage boiler waterwall loss can be dramatically improved through the application of a verifiable, real-time corrosion monitoring system. The addition of bromine-containing chemicals to boilers for mercury control has also created a need to understand how these chemicals may affect corrosion potential in the system. Real-time corrosion monitoring is necessary in order to link the corrosion behavior with real power plant conditions in the region of the air heater.
Applications of this technology in laboratory combustors, pilot-scale facilities and during field tests at coal-fired utility boilers have established its value as a tool for addressing high temperature corrosion. The equipment has proven durable, flexible, and can be operated remotely or as an on-site addition to existing instrumentation operations. In addition, a proprietary technique has been developed that allows the sensor elements to be removed periodically to verify the quantitative accuracy of the sensor.
REI has coupled this corrosion monitoring technology with CFD analysis to develop a Corrosion Management System that can effectively monitor and anticipate corrosion behavior in combustion systems.
Rich Reagent Injection (RRI) is a new NOx control technology that provides coal-fired generating units with a cost-effective means of complying with NOx regulations. The RRI process reduces NOx formation by injecting amine-based compounds into the fuel-rich regions of furnaces. The RRI process was originally developed for coal-fired cyclone boilers, and performs well in the fuel-rich lower furnace created by operating cyclone boilers with overfire air. Combined overfire air and RRI technologies have been shown to reduce cyclone NOx levels by more than 80%. The RRI process is also applicable to other pulverized coal-fired units and industrial boilers.
RRI is a complementary technology that can be coupled with other NOx reduction technologies such as low-NOx burners, overfire air, and Selective Non-Catalytic Reduction (SNCR). The RRI process is particularly compatible with SNCR as it uses similar chemicals and hardware, providing SNCR users a familiar operational environment and economies of scale in capital costs. For applications where ammonia slip is a concern, RRI provides a beneficial alternative since it produces no ammonia slip.
RRI development started with chemical kinetics modeling and advanced computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling at REI. This was followed by extensive laboratory testing at the University of Utah and finally two full-scale demonstrations on EPRI-member utility units, Conectiv’s 160 MW B. L. England Unit 1 and AmerenUE’s 480 MW Sioux Unit 1.
Chemical Fractionation (CF) is a sequence of selective extractions used to help understand the characteristics of various fuels, including biomass. The purpose of the partial chemical fractionation analysis is to determine the amount of particular trace metals which are organically associated and inorganically associated. The metals of interest are Ca, Mg, K, Na and P, Si. The fuel sample is exposed to sequential leaching processes in order to differentiate the inorganic classes within the fuel. The parts of the fuel are found as water soluble, ion exchangeable, hydrochloric acid soluble or residual (non-soluble). This information can be used to better predict how the fuel will behave during combustion and downstream processes. CF can provide insight into emissions, deposition, slagging, and corrosion issues associated with biomass firing.
A bench-scale rotary reactor, designed by Reaction Engineering International and located at the University of Utah, has been developed to investigate hydrocarbon loadings for samples such as cement kiln raw feed material and contaminated soils. The reactor was used to quantify raw material hydrocarbons for over 75 different cement plants in a study performed by REI for the Portland Cement Association (PCA). In addition, the reactor has been used to assist a variety of different cement plants with site-specific hydrocarbon problems. The reactor has also been used for a variety of bench-scale tests involving contaminated superfund soils and sludges, waste plastic pyrolysis and other applications.
The rotary reactor is approximately 4 inches in diameter by 4 inches long. Rotation rates of up to 3 rpm are achievable. Heat is supplied to the rotary reactor via induction coils. A maximum heating rate for dry material (< 30 percent water by volume) is approximately 50 ºF/minute. Mean bed temperature is continuously measured with a thermocouple located in the solids. Heated or ambient temperature purge gases of desired initial composition (inert, reducing, oxidizing) enter the system through a swivel joint and pass through the support tube. The purge gases mix with evolving gases from the solids and exit the kiln cavity through the exit swivel joint. Gas samples (CO, CO2, O2, SO2, NOx, THC) and particulates can be continuously collected from exhaust. In addition, an on-line microGC system or FTIR spectrophotometer can be connected to the exhaust line for other gas analyses.