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Fuel Processing Technology 92 (2011) 23352340

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Fuel Processing Technology


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/fuproc

Saving fuel consumption and reducing pollution emissions for industrial furnace
Chien-Li Lee a, Chih-Ju G. Jou b,
a b

Department of Leisure and Recreation Management, Diwan University, Taiwan Department of Safety, Health and Environmental Engineering, National Kaohsiung First University of Science and Technology, Taiwan

a r t i c l e

i n f o

a b s t r a c t
The furnace efciency can be maintained or improved slightly by lowering the excess air ratio and raising the air preheat temperature in the heat furnace. The results obtained with a plant-size industrial furnace show that when the excess air oxygen concentration is reduced from 4% to 3%, the furnace efciency is raised by 0.6%. However, raising the temperature of the pre-heated air will cause a higher furnace temperature and a faster owing speed of the air in the furnace. Thus, the heat in the radiation zone of the furnace can be evenly transmitted to shorten the time for the fuel to reach the igniting point, and reduce the heat loss from the hot air stream. This will reduce the emission of CO2 and NOx. If the temperature of the pre-heated air is raised from 200 C to 240 C, about 2.3 106 m 3 of natural gas can be saved annually to reduce 3.1 10 3 t of CO2 and 14.3% of nitrogen oxide emissions. Such operational adjustments of the furnace using the recovered FG will save energy, reduce CO2 emission and alleviate the adverse impact to environment. 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Article history: Received 5 September 2010 Received in revised form 14 May 2011 Accepted 21 August 2011 Available online 21 September 2011 Keywords: Carbon dioxide Energy saving Pre-heated air Heat furnace

1. Introduction The rapid global economic growth leads to social prosperity and increasing demand of energy that depletes rapidly the global reserve of petroleum fuels [1]. Prior to developing new and renewable fuels, the concept of energy production and management begins to emphasize recycle and recovery of reusable waste energy [2]. The continual economic growth depends on integrated energy and environmental management [1]. Industries have proposed many methods to manage energy and raise efciency; these methods include strengthening energy source management, developing new energy sources, reusing wasted energy, and recovering waste resources [3,4]. Recovery and reuse of waste heat and resources and research on new technology for recovering and managing energy are considered as the major strategies for reducing energy consumption and pollution emission [1,5,6]. For instance, using the recovered waste iron dust and particles will save the consumption of iron ore [7]; a dust collector installed at the furnace emission or in the convection pass for ltering and recycling the hot gas back to the furnace will reduce CO emission and raise the energy efciency by 3% [8]; or, a condensing heat exchanger installed to recover the sensible and latent heats from the boiler ue gasses may increase the energy efciency of the boiler by as much as

Corresponding author. Tel.: + 886 7 601 1000x2316; fax: + 866 7 601 1061. E-mail address: george@ccms.nkfust.edu.tw (C.-J.G. Jou). 0378-3820/$ see front matter 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.fuproc.2011.08.005

10% [9]; replacing natural gas partially with the recovered blast furnace waste gas that contains 21% of carbon monoxide and 78% nitrogen will reduce the consumption of natural gas [10,11]. Further, modifying the existing equipment and/or operational procedures of the high-temperature combustion technology, reducing excess air and raising the temperature of the pre-heated air, among the many others, may improve the energy efciency. For instance, in the iron and steel industry, using the Consteel Tunnel-Type system to improve the traditional bucket pre-heating system will raise the production efciency by 33%, and reduce the energy consumption by 40% in addition to lowering the dust emission [12]; Lee et al., demonstrated with a steam boiler that regulating the residual O2 concentration (vol.%) in ue gasses from 4% to 2% reduced the mean emissions of CO2 by 612 t/year [13]. Kuprianov et al., studied the effect of various excess air ratios ( from 1.14 to 1.02) on the fuel efciency of an oil-red boiler [14], the results showed that low excess air ratios would lead to increasing boiler efciency, and reducing fuel consumption. In previous studies carried out by the authors of this paper, the tail gas emitted from some petroleum renery processes (e.g. catalyst recombination, heavy oil desulfurization, and heavy oil cracking) was collected and reused to fuel heat furnace, vortex power generator, and boiler for generating stream. However, the complicate components contained in the fuel gas and the 4080% hydrogen content caused a low efciency for the furnace and boiler using the recovered tail gas. In this research, the experiment using the recovered tail gas in a plant-size gas-red furnace by adjusting the residual O2 concentration in the ue gas, and raising

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the temperature of the pre-heated input air was investigated for evaluating the energy-effectiveness and environmental impact of reusing the recovered tail gas. 2. Experimental equipment and methods 2.1. Experimental equipment Fig. 1 shows the schematic diagram of the experimental equipment; it is an on-site gas-red furnace serving a distillation plant. The furnace includes two circular combustion chambers, i.e. Chamber A, and Chamber B. Each chamber is 8.76 m in diameter and 20.6 m in height; there are 12 burners each with a total of 24 burners. Each burner contains 8 ports known as the Multi-Port Burner system, and the designed combustion heat release (Lower Heating Value, LHV) is 68.15 MM kcal/h. The heat furnace is operated with an Automatic Combustion Control (ACC) based on the temperature (TC-A and TC-B for Chamber A and Chamber B, respectively) of the heated uid exiting the furnace as the bases for adjusting the fuel input. When the exit uid temperature changes, the ACC system will automatic adjust the ow rate of fuel (FC-A and FC-B for chamber A, and B, respectively) into the furnace so that a constant pre-selected temperature can be maintained for the hot uid leaving the furnace. Fresh air (shown by green line in Fig. 1) is forced into the furnace with a fan; it rst passes through a heat exchanger to be pre-heated by the emitted ue gas, and through a gas valve so that an appropriate ow rate of the pre-heated air is sent to the furnace with an induced fan. The ue gas (blue line in Fig. 1) is discharged rst through the heat exchanger and then emitted

to the atmosphere though a smoke stack. The negative pressure in the chamber is controlled with a pressure controlled (PC-A and PC-B for Chamber A, and B, respectively). 2.2. Experimental methods All monitoring instruments have been calibrated prior to conducting the experiment. The recovered tail gas used in this experiment + contains on the average 7.0% CH4, 6.8% C2H6%, 5.8% C3H8, 4.1% C4 , + 0.6% C5 , 75.4%H2, and 220 ppmv H2S. The furnace loading is maintained at 70% of the full capacity by keeping a xed bafe position. The experimental procedures are as follows: 1) Varying (tail fuel gas, FG)/(nature gas, NG) volumetric ratios at 0%/100% (pure NG), 40/60%, 80/20%, and 100%/0% (pure FG). 2) Adjusting residual O2 concentrations in the ue gas to 4.0, 3.8, 3.4 and 3.0%. 3) Adjusting the combustion air pre-heating temperatures to 200, 210, 220, 230, and 240 C. The adjusted results were recorded 120 min later after the adjustment to assure stable readings. 2.3. Analysis methods The ue gas was continuously monitored using an on-line Continuing Emission Monitor System (CEMS) (E.S.A. MIR 900; the type of analysis NOx, CO and CO2 for IR, and O2 for Galvanic) with 5.9% accuracy, 95%

Fig. 1. Schematic diagram of the heating furnace system.

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Residual O2 Conc. (vol.%)

3. Results and discussion 3.1. Flame appearance for NG and FG fuels The fuel composition inuences the ame appearance signicantly [15,16]. Based on the 6080% of hydrogen gas contained in the recovered fuel gas, increasing FG/NG ratios will cause the brightness of the orange yellow ame to decrease because of lower C/H in the mixed fuel. Fig. 2 shows that the ame by combusting pure NG is bright in orangeyellow color; the formation region is inside the ame region of the burner. Blue ame can be seen in the outside region whereas the inside ame is bright orangeyellow because oxidation, and soot formation & growth occur in the inside ame region. When the fuel mixture containing 40/60% ratio of FG/NG is used, the increasing hydrogen gas content in the mixed fuel causes reduced ame length and brightness as seen by the orangeyellow ame surrounded by a blue halo. In contrast, the ame for pure FG appears blue with only slight orange color in the inside region of the burner. 3.2. Inuence of different inlet FG/NG ratios on residual O2 concentration and furnace efciency Using the tail fuel gas (FG) from the catalyst recombination process as replacement of natural gas (NG) to fuel a furnace is studied using different inlet FG/NG ratios. According to the theoretical combustion reactions of hydrogen gas and element carbon (reactions (1) and (2), respectively), a complete combustion of 1 mol hydrogen takes only 0.5 mol O2, while 1 mol O2 is required for the complete combustion of 1 mol carbon. H 2 1=2O2 H2 Og C O2 CO2g Ao 1 2

91 3 90.8

2 NG

90.6 40:60 80:20 FG

Inlet FG/NG ratio


Fig. 3. Relationship among the inlet FG/NG ratio, residual O2 concentration in ue gasses and efciency.

residual O2 concentration in the ue gas increases with higher inlet tail fuel gas (FG)/natural (NG) ratios. The O2 concentrations are 2.6% for pure NG, 3.2% for 40/60 of FG/NG ratio, 3.7% 80/20 of FG/NG ratio, and 4.4% for pure FG. If NG is completely replaced by FG in the mixed fuel, residual O2 concentration in ue gasses increases from 2.6% to 4.4%. More excess air will cause higher percentage of oxygen atoms that leads to lower temperature in the reaction region of the furnace and less furnace efciency [1719]. Additionally, the combustion of hydrogen will provide higher energy input and cause low ame radiation [17]. Hence, higher hydrogen content in the fuel will cause faster rate of hydrocarbon combustion to reduce the residence time of the fuel stream in the overall convection region of the furnace [20]. Fig. 3 shows that the furnace efciency decreases with increasing inlet tail fuel gas (FG)/natural gas (NG) ratios. The furnace efciencies are 91.5% for pure NG, 91.2% for 40/60 of FG/NG ratio, 91.0% for 80/20 of FG/NG ratio, and 90.8% for pure FG. Hence, reducing the excess air while raising the temperature of the pre-heated air will lead to higher furnace efciency and hence the overall energy efciency [1214]. 3.3. Impact of residual O2 concentration in ue gasses on the furnace efciency and amount of NOx yielded The results shown in Section 3.2 indicate that with increasing portion of FG added to the fuel will show a decreasing tendency of the furnace efciency. Adjusting the residual O2 concentration in the fuel is actually reducing the input quantity of pre-heated air. This is caused by the reduction of residual O2 concentration in pre-heated air that leads to the decrease of the ue gas ow rate in the furnace chamber; hence the

1 0:5H 2 2CH 4 3C 2 H 4 3:5C 2 H 6 5C 3 H 8 6:5C 4 H 10 3 0:21

Where: H2, CH4, etc. are the molar fraction in the RG, % in volume. Meanwhile, based on Eq. (3), the calculated theoretical air requirements are 10.4 (N m 3) for a complete combustion of 1 mol NG, and 6.5 N m 3 for 1 mol FG. Prior to entering the furnace, the tail gas contains steady 6080 mol% of hydrogen gas. Results shown in Fig. 3 reveal that with constant hydrogen gas concentration, the

Fig. 2. Flame color for various NG/FG ratios: (a) pure NG, (b) 40/60% NG /FG, (c) 20/80% NG /FG, and (d) pure FG.

Efficiency (%)

condence level, and 2 C temperature error. Monthly calibration of CEMS was carried out according to the standard methods (e.g., National Institute of Environmental Analysis (NIEA) A704.03C for CO, NIEA A411.72C for NOx, NIEA A442.70C for O2, NIEA A415.70A for CO2). Temperature was measured with a thermocouple (K-Type, error is 0.3% of full scale). The heating furnace efciency is dened as ((real heat absorbed by process) / (total heat credits of input fuel) 100%).

Oxygen

Efficiency

91.6

91.4 4 91.2

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residence time of the fuel stream in the furnace is prolonged so that the temperature of the radiation zone of the furnace is raised. Therefore, the speed of the thermal ow transfer to the conduction region is slowed down thus allowing the heat to be completely transferred to lower the temperature of the conduction region and raise the heat absorption rate in the furnace. Fig. 4 indicates that when the residual O2 concentration is reduced from 4% to 3.8%, the furnace efciency is raised from 90.9% to 91.0% residual O2 concentration. Further reduction of the residual O2 concentration to 3.0% will raise the furnace efciency to 91.5%. Hence, if the residual O2 concentration is lowered from 4% to 3%, the furnace efciency can be raised by 0.6%. Additionally, when the residual O2 concentration in the excess air is lowered, the oxygen utilization rate in the reaction region is also reduced. The heat mixing in the furnace, the maximum ame temperature, and the insufcient oxygen will favor the thermal formation of N2 the furnace [21]. The lower O2 concentration in ue gasses can decrease the oxygen utilization rate in the reaction area. As a consequence, both the mixed heat energy in the furnace chamber and the maximum ame temperature go down, resulting in more N2 to be produced from fuels under insufcient oxygen and lower furnace chamber temperature will assist in lowering the thermal formation of NOx [19]. Hence, reducing the O2 concentration in the excess air will be benecial in reducing the NOx formation. Fig. 5 shows that reducing the residual O2 concentration from 4.0% to 3.8%, 3.4% and 3.0%, the average NOx formation will be lowered from 69.7 ppmv to 66.6 ppmv, 52.5 ppmv, and 38.7 ppmv, respectively. The average NOx formation is reduced by 31 ppmv when the residual O2 concentration in ue gasses is observed to decrease from 4.0% to 3.0%. 3.4. Impact of air preheat temperature on the amount of fuel The input air pre-heater is to transmit the heat from the ue gas of high temperature (blue line in Fig. 1) to the fresh air before it is forced into the furnace so that the latter is pre-heated (green line in Fig. 1). The heat to be emitted with the ue gas into the atmosphere is thus recovered for raising the furnace efcacy to save fuel consumption. Pre-heating the fresh air with the recovered heat from the tail gas is an addition to the aforementioned method of lowering the oxygen concentration in the excess air to improve the furnace efciency. The air pre-heating is carried out by circulating the high-temperature ue gas around the burner nozzle to raise the temperature of the fuel still in the nozzle before it is blown out to the furnace. Raising the temperature of the fuel will reduce its density so that the fuel speed in the nozzle is enhanced leading to shorter time for the fuel to reach the ignition time and the temperature of the thermal ow in

70

NOx (ppmv)

58

46

34 3 3.2 3.4 3.6 3.8 4

Residual O2 conc. (Vol. %)


Fig. 5. Relationship between the NOx formation and the O2 concentration in the ue gasses.

the furnace radiation region [22], and to raise the temperature of the thermal ow leaving the heating furnace (TC-A and TC-B for Chamber A and Chamber B in Fig. 1, respectively). When the exit uid temperature is raised, the Automatic Combustion Control (ACC) system will automatic adjust the ow rate of incoming fuel (FC-A and FC-B for chamber A, and B in Fig. 1, respectively) into the furnace. The results shown in Fig. 6 reveal that pre-heating the air from 200 C to 210 C will save the fuel consumption from 4360 m 3/h to 4290 m 3/h. If the input air temperature is further increased to 220 C, 230 C, and 240 C, the fuel consumptions are reduced to 4210 m3/h, 4160 m 3/h, and 4050 m3/h, respectively. Raising the temperature of fresh air entering the furnace will result in higher temperature of the thermal ow in the furnace, lower furnace loading and savings of fuel consumption. Hence, if the input air temperature is further increased from 200 C to 240 C, the fuel consumptions can be saved by 310 m 3/h. 3.5. Impact of air preheat temperature on the residual O2 concentration and amount of NOx yielded When the combusting air is subject to higher temperature in the furnace, the oxygen concentration in the furnace is relatively lower [14], and hence, the heat is more evenly distributed in the radiation zone of the furnace and fully transmitted. This causes lower ame peak temperature, smaller ame volume, and shorter residence time of the thermal stream in the furnace so that relatively smaller quantity of NOx is formed [22]. Additionally, the lower O2 concentration in ue gasses

91.5

4.4

Efficiency (%)

91.3

FG rate (m3/h)*E+3

4.3

4.2

91.1

4.1

90.9 3 3.2 3.4 3.6 3.8 4

4 200

210

220

230

240

Residual O2 conc.(Vol. %)
Fig. 4. Inuence of residual O2 concentration on the furnace thermal efciency.

Air preheat temp (0C)


Fig. 6. Relationship between the temperature of pre-heated air and FG ow rate in the furnace.

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3.4

Table 1 The furnace fuel volumetric ow rate ratio, residual O2 concentration in the ue gas, and combustion air pre-heating temperatures. Parameter Inlet different fuel volumetric ow rate ratio Pure NG Residual O2 conc. (vol. %) Efciency % Parameter 2.6 91.5 Adjusting (vol. %) 4.0 90.9 69.7 FG/NG = 40:60 FG/NG = 80:20 Pure FG

Residual O2 conc. (Vol. %)

3.2

3.2 3.7 4.4 91.2 91.0 90.8 residual O2 concentration in the ue gasses 3.8 91.0 66.6 3.4 91.3 52.5 3.0 91.5 38.7

Efciency (%) NOx (ppmv) Parameter

2.8 200

210

220

230

240

Air preheat temp. (oC)


Fig. 7. Relationship between the residual O2 concentration and the temperature of the pre-heated air.

FG ow rate (m3/h) Residual O2 conc. (vol. %) NOx (ppmv)

Adjusting the combustion air pre-heating temperatures (C) 200 210 220 230 4360 4290 4210 4160 3.3 3.2 3.1 3.0 53.2 51.1 49.7 47.6

240 4050 2.9 45.6

can cause a reduction of the oxygen utilization rate in the reaction area; oxygenated radicals such as O and OH radicals will actively participate in the formation of NOx. As a consequence, both the mixed heat energy in the furnace chamber and the maximum ame temperature will go down causing more N2 to be produced from fuels. Hence, conditions of insufcient oxygen and lower furnace chamber temperature will assist in lowering the thermal formation of NOx [19]. Results shown in Figs. 7 and 8 reveal that both residual O2 in the ue gas and NOx formation in the furnace decrease for increasing input air temperature. When the pre-heating air temperature is raised from 200 C to 210 C, the residual O2 concentration decreases from 3.3% to 3.2% whereas the NOx formation decreases from 53.2 ppmv to 51.1 ppmv. If the air pre-heating temperature is raised to 220 C, the residual O2 concentration decreases to 3.1% and the NOx formation decreases to 49.7 ppmv. Further reduction of the air pre-heating temperature to 230 C causes the residual O2 concentration to reduce to 3.0%, and the NOx formation to reduce to 47.6 ppmv. If the air pre-heating temperature is reduced to 240 C, the reduction of residual O2 concentration and NOx formation are reduced to 2.90% and 45.6 ppmv, respectively. Therefore, raising the temperature of the pre-heated input air from 200 C to 240 C with the waste heat recovered from the ue gas will result in lowering the residual O2 concentration from 3.3% to 2.90%, and reducing the NOx formation by 7.6 ppmv. Therefore, using FG to replace NG in the mixed fuel fed to power furnace, the residual O2 concentration in ue gasses increases will lower

the furnace efciency. Hence, decreasing the residual O2 concentration in the ue gas will raise the combustion air pre-heating temperatures as shown by the experiment results listed in Table 1. For either furnace used in this study, increasing the FG ratio in fuel gas to reduce the residual O2 concentration in the ue gas and combustion air pre-heating temperatures will assist industries in achieving energy saving and reducing greenhouse gas emission. 4. Conclusion In this research, the replacement of natural gas (NG) by the tail fuel gas (FG) recovered from a petrochemical process as the furnace fuel is studied. The simple replacement of NG by FG will lower the furnace efciency. However, lowering the O2 concentration in the input air will reduce the oxygen utilization rate in the reaction region of the furnace. Hence, the heat mixing in the furnace and the maximum ame temperature will be reduced to prolong the residence time of the thermal stream in the furnace, and thus, increase the time for the fuel to release heat. The experimental results using a plant-size furnace indicate that reducing the O2 concentration in the input air from 4% to 3.0% will raise the furnace efciency by 0.6%, and reduce the NOx formation by 45% or 31.0 ppmv. On the other hand, raising the temperature of the pre-heated air before it is forced into the furnace will cause a lower oxygen concentration in and a higher temperature of the thermal ow in the furnace. This enhances the thermal ow velocity in the furnace thus allowing an even and faster heat transfer in the furnace so that the fuel experiences short time of combustion to cause less heat loss and NOx formation. The experimental results indicate that raising the temperature of the preheated air from 200 C to 240 C, annual savings of fuel consumption can reach 2.3 10 6 m 3 with the reduction of 3.1 10 3 t of CO2, and 14.3% of NOx. Hence, lowering the O2 concentration in the fresh input air and raising its temperature will achieve the objective of saving fuel consumption, and lowering the emission of CO2 and NOx that is signicant to alleviate the adverse environmental impact. References
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Fig. 8. Relationship between the NOx formation and the temperature of the pre-heated air.

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