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CoalCombustionTheory
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Combustion is a rapid chemical reaction
between fuel and oxygen. When combustible
elementsoffuelcombinewithO2,heatenergy
comes out. During combustion combustible
elements like Carbon, Sulfur, Hydrogen etc
combine with oxygen and produce respective
oxides. The source of oxygen in fuel
combustionisair.Byvolumethereis21%of
Oxygen presents in air and by weight it is
23.2%.Althoughthereis79%(byvolume)
nitrogen in air but it plays no role in

combustion.

ActuallyNitrogencarriesheatproducedduringcombustiontosteamboilerstack.Asper
combustiontheorythequantityofairrequiredforcombustionisthatwhichprovides
sufficientO2tocompletelyoxidizecombustibleelementsoffuel.Thisquantityofairis
normallyknownasSTOICHIOMETRICAIRrequirement.Thisamountofairdependsupon
thenatureoffuel.STOICHIOMETRICAIRrequirementsfordifferentfuelsareobtainedby
analysisoffuelandtheyaregivenintabularformbelow,
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Fuel

STOICHIOMETRICAIRmass/unitmassoffuel

BituminousCoal

11.18

AnttiasiteCoal

10.7

Coke

9.8

Liquite

7.5

Peat

5.7

ResidualFuelOil

13.85

DistillateFuelOil(GasOil)

14.48

NaturalGas(MethaneBase)

17.3

CombustionofCoal
Forsufficientair,

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We have already said that mass wise there is 23.2 % O2 presents in air. Hence the
amountofairrequiredtoprovide2.67gmofO2is

As per ideal combustion theory, after combustion of one gm carbon(C), product of


combustioncontainsonly3.67gmofCO2and(11.52.67=)8.83gmofN2

CoalCombustionforInsufficientAir

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Byweight,therequirementofairforprovidingthismuchO2is

Aftercombustionofonegmcarbon(C),productofcombustioncontainsonly2.33gmof
COand(5.751.33=)4.42gmofN2.
From equation (1) and (2) it is clear that due to insufficient air combustion, the heat
loseduring1gmofcoalcombustionis(33.9410.12)=23.82kj

CombustionofSulfur

So,airrequiredfor1gmsulfurcombustion,is

So,combustionproduct,aftercompleting1gmofsulfurcombustion,contains2gmof
SO2and(4.311=)3.31gmofN2

CombustionofHydrogen

FromcombustiontheoryofC,SandH2itisfoundthat2.67gmoxygenisrequiredfor1
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gmcarboncombustion,whichimplies2.67CgmoxygenisrequiredforCgmcarbon,1
gm oxygen is required for 1 gm sulfur combustion, which implies S gm oxygen is
required for S gm sulfur and 8 gm oxygen is required for 1 gm hydrogen combustion,
whichimplies8HgmoxygenisrequiredforHgmhydrogen.
Hence1gmofcoal(fuel)whichcontainsCgmcarbon,SgmsulfurandHgmhydrogen,
requires(2.67C+S+8H)gmofoxygenforefficientcombustion.
Some amount of oxygen may be contained in the fuel itself in form of different
compoundsandittakespartincombustionalso.IfOistheoriginalweightoftheoxygen
presentsin1gmoffuel,netrequirementofoxygenforsufficientcoalcombustion is
(2.67C+S+8HO)gm.Forthattheamountofairrequiredis

Thisabovementionedanalysisiscalledcoalanalysisforcombustion.
Beforeefficientcombustioncantakeplace,severalbasicrequirementsmustbefulfilled,
mostimportantofthemare,
a)Thecombustionmustbedonewithsufficientoxygen
b)Theremustbesufficientturbulencetopromotethroughoutmixingofcombustibleand
oxygen.

CoalContentinProximateAnalysis
Moisture=8%,volatilematerial=20to25%,fixedcarbon=40%,ash=30%.Fixed
carbon'scombustiontemperature=900C.BasiccomponentofashisSi,Alandothers.
NowfusiontemperatureofSiis1200C.
Ifthefurnacetemperatureraisesabove1100CthenSiwillbefusedanddepositedon
thetubes,asslag,causingimproperheattransfer.
Nowtodilutethetemperatureexcessairandcompletecombustionarerequired.
Now,thevolatilematerialplaysimportantroleincombustion.Lessthevolatilematerial
flamewillbehighwhichmaybechanceforflameimpingementofS/Hcoil.
Forfulfillingthepointsomepracticalstepstotaken.Inpracticeitisalwaysnecessaryto
supply more air to the combustion system than it is theoretically required. Reason for
that air and fuel mixing process in any combustion system, as it is not possible to
ensurecompleteandintimatemixingofthefuelwiththenecessaryoxygenatthepoint
of injection. So some excess air is required for proper combustion to a reasonable
minimumpower,stacklossandunburntcarboninash.
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Generally20%excessairisallowed.
%ofExcess
Air

UnburntCarbonin
Ash

C.V.Liberatedin
Furnace

0%

10%

75%

15%

2%

97%

CO2,O2,N2,H2,CO(1%)

100%

0.5%

99.5%

CO2,O2,N2

UnburntGasLoss
CO2,O2,N2,H2O,CO,
CH4(15%)

Thirdprocessisunsatisfactoryforextrafanpowerandconveyhugeamountofheat.
Thecoalparticlesshouldbeatleast74micronsin200mesh.Sopulveriserisrequired
for
i)betterutilityofcoal
ii)savingoftime.
Therearemainlythreelossesoccurredduringcoalcombustion,
1)Unburntgasloss
2)Dryfluegasloss
3)Combustibleinashloss.
UnburntGasLoss

Remember the unburnt gas loss is mainly the result of burning carbon to carbon
monoxide instead of carbon dioxide. It is seen that heat release in CO reaction is one
third of that in CO2 reaction. So adequate supply of oxygen or excess air will quickly
reducethislosstozero.
DryFlueGasLoss

Afurtherlossofheatisthatduetodryfluegas.Itisoftenreferredtoasthestackloss.
Ifmoreexcessairisadmitted,thislossincreases.
CombustibleinAshLoss

Thislossisveryhighwhenthereislittleornoexcessairbecausemixingofcombustible
material and oxygen is so poor. As the air quantity is increased, the loss falls rapidly.
Howeveritdoesnotreachto"zero"becausethelossdependsupontwofactorsfirstlyon
aircoalmixtureandsecondlyonfinenessofpulverizedcoalgrain.Morefinegrainof
pulverized coal helps to complete combustion more perfectly and resulting less
combustible in ash loss. In practice, though, a stage is reached where it is not worth
grindingthecoalanyfinerbecauseitwillcostmoretogrindthantheextraheatrelease.
Practicallythelossdoesnotreachtozero.generallyahighvolatilecoaliscrusheduntil
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75%ofitsbulkpassesthrougha200meshwhereasalowvolatilecoaliscrusheduntil
80%passesthroughsimilarmesh.
Thelossgetslessasexcessairisadded,reachesaminimumandthenincreasesasstill
moreexcessairisadded.Thusthereisonlyonequantityofexcessairwhichwillgive
lowerlossforthecombustionofaparticularfuel.Forbituminouscoal15.5%excessair
isoptimumrequirementforCoalCombustion.

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