Publication | Contributions to trade journals

Validation of flow simulation and gas combustion sub-models for CFD-based prediction of NOx formation in biomass grate furnaces

Published 2010

Citation: Zahirović S, Scharler R, Kilpinen P, Obernberger I. Validation of flow simulation and gas combustion sub-models for the CFD-based prediction of NOx formation in biomass grate furnaces. Combustion Theory and Modelling. 2011;15(1):61-87.


While reasonably accurate in simulating gas phase combustion in biomass grate furnaces, CFD tools based on simple turbulence-chemistry interaction models and global reaction mechanisms have been shown to lack in reliability regarding the prediction of NOx formation. Coupling detailed NOx reaction kinetics with advanced turbulence-chemistry interaction models is a promising alternative, yet computationally inefficient for engineering purposes. In the present work, a model is proposed to overcome these difficulties. The model is based on the Realizable k-ε model for turbulence, Eddy Dissipation Concept for turbulence-chemistry interaction and the HK97 reactionmechanism. The assessment of the sub-models in terms of accuracy and computational effort was carried out on three laboratory-scale turbulent jet flames in comparison with the experimental data. Without taking NOx formation into account, the accuracy of turbulence modelling and turbulence-chemistry interaction modelling was systematically examined on Sandia Flame D and Sandia CO/H2/N2 Flame B to support the choice of the associated models. As revealed by the Large Eddy Simulations of the former flame, the shortcomings of turbulence modelling by the Reynolds averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) approach considerably influence the prediction of the mixing-dominated combustion process. This reduced the sensitivity of the RANS results to the variations of turbulence-chemistry interaction models and combustion kinetics. Issues related to the NOx formation with a focus on fuel bound nitrogen sources were investigated on a NH3-doped syngas flame. The experimentally observed trend in NOx yield from NH3 was correctly reproduced by HK97, whereas the replacement of its combustion subset by that of a detailed reaction scheme led to a more accurate agreement, but at increased computational costs. Moreover, based on results of simulations with HK97, the main features of the local course of the NOx formation processes were identified by a detailed analysis of the interactions between the nitrogen chemistry and the underlying flow field. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.

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