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MEE322- Fuels and Combustion

UNIT 1. Lectures 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5


TYPES OF FUELS
1. Lecture 1 Introduction to Fuels, types and their properties
Text Books:
1. Samir Sarkar, Fuels and Combustion Orient Longman Pvt Ltd., (Ch.2. p. 18-29)
2. D.P. Mishra, Fundamentals of Combustion, Eastern Economy Edition. (Ch.1.
p. 1-18)
1. Sources of energy
Wood
Coal
Natural gas
Oil
Nuclear
Alternative energies
Hydropower
Solar
Wind
1.1. Definitions
Fuel:
It is a source for heat and light energy. When the fuel burns in air it releases
energy.
What is combustion?
It is a chemical reaction between the fuel and oxygen (air).
The process occurs with a flame and evolve heat energy.
Fuel + Oxidant --------- combustion products + energy
The energy, which is produced, is mainly in the form of light and heat.
The overall process is exothermic in nature. More dealt under UNIT-4
Examples and devices:
Candle flames, lighting of match sticks, cigarette burning, wood burning,
Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) burners for cooking,
Applications:
Household energy: Cooking, lighting, heating, cooling etc.
Transportation: IC engines in cars, buses, trucks etc.
Industrial: Boilers, furnaces, reciprocating engines, gas turbine engines, for
power plants, rocket motors etc.
Ref.1.p. 18
1.2. How do we get energy from fuels?
Combustion reaction examples:
C + O2 CO2 + energy
1

CH4 + 2O2 CO2 + 2 H2O + energy


These reactions are said to be exothermic (any chemical or physical change that is
accompanied by the release of heat). The amount of heat generated is known as
calorific value of the fuel.
1.3. Units of Energy
Metric system unit of energy: The joule (J)
Typical unit of heat = calorie
1 calorie is the amount of heat necessary to raise the temperature of 1 g of water, by
1oC
Conversion Factors:
1 calorie = 4.186 J
and 1 kcal = 1.162 Wh = 3.968 BTU
1 BTU = 1055 J = 0.252 kcal
1 MJ = 238.89 kcal = 947.86 BTU
1 kWh = 3.6 x 106 J = 860.42 kcal = 3412 BTU = 1.341 HP
Calorific values:
1 BTU/lb = 0.5556 kcal/kg
1 kcal/kg = 1.8 BTU/lb
1 kJ/kg = 0.239 kcal/kg = 0.4299 BTU/lb Ref.1.p. 23 & 24
1.4. What is Fuel and Oxidiser
A fuel and an oxidant (oxidiser) are of utmost importance in combustion.
Most of the time oxygen or air is the oxidiser.
Hence we may define
Fuels are combustible materials, obtainable in bulk, which produce by proper
combustion in air, large amount of heat that can be used economically for domestic
and industrial purposes.
Alternatively
Fuel is defined as one, which donates electrons and oxidiser is one which accepts
electrons. This property of elements ability to donate or accept electrons is known as
electronegativity.
Types of fuels and oxidisers
Chemical or conventional fuels as defined above, release their chemical energy by
combustion reactions, whereas nuclear fuels release staggering amounts of energy in
a very short time interval, by fission or fusion of nuclei of atoms.
2. Classification of fuels
This section describes types of fuels: solid, liquid, and gaseous.
Fuels are classified as

Primary fuels Fuels which occur naturally such as coal, crude petroleum and natural
gas. Coal and crude petroleum, formed from organic matter many millions of years
ago, are referred to as natural or fossil fuels,
Secondary fuels Fuels which are derived from naturally occurring ones by a
treatment process such as coke, gasoline, coal gas etc.
Both primary and secondary fuels may be further classified based upon their physical
state as
[i] solid fuels
UNIT-2
[ii] liquid fuels and
UNIT-2
[iii] gaseous fuels.
UNIT-3
The quality of fuels depends upon the amount of heat liberated per unit quantity of
the fuel (calorific value) and their efficiency in combustion, the nature of the product
of combustion and safe storage
Ref 2.p. 5-13
Table 1.1. Classification of Fuels - Examples
Physical
Natural or
Prepared or secondary
state
primary
Solid
Coal, wood,
Coke, charcoal
peat, lignite,
Liquid
Alcohol, petroleum
Kerosene, gasoline
Gaseous

Natural gas,
hydrogen, methane

Coal gas, water gas,


SYN gas, biogas, LPG

Lecture 2and 3. Solid Fuels


2.1. Solid Fuels General Characteristics
Table 1.2. Types of solid fuels, oxidiser and applications
Solid fuel
Oxidiser
Applications
Biomass
(wood, sawdust)

Air, O2

Domestic cooking, Producer


gas in IC Engines

Coke, Coal

Air, O2

Boilers, Domestic cooking,

Special fuels
Ammonium
Nitrocellulose (NC)
perchlorate,
HTPB*, CTPB* ammonium nitrate,
nitrogen tetroxide
*HTPB: Hydroxy terminated poly butadiene
*CTPB: Carboxyl terminated poly butadiene
2.1.1. Rocket fuels
3

Solid propellant,
Rocket fuel,
Hybrid rocket
Ref 2. Page 11-13

These are special fuels known as propellants used to launch rocket engines and
missiles.
(i). Composite propellants
Both fuel and oxidiser are mixed in such a way that each constituent retains its
physical identity.
Eg: polybutadiene, hydroxyl terminated polybutadiene (HTPB), carboxyl terminated
polybutadiene (CTPB). Ammonium perchlorate and ammonium nitrate are some of
the commonly employed oxidisers.
(ii). Double phase propellants
The fuel and oxidiser are the major constituents and mixed in a molecular level.
Nitrocellulose (NC) and nitroglycerine (NG) are examples. Care to be taken during
handling them.
Ref 2. Page 12
2.2. Solid Fuels General Characteristics
Examples:
Wood, coal, charcoal, soft coke, biomass, animal dung etc.
Carbon and hydrogen are the major constituents.
Impurities:
Ash, Nitrogen, oxygen, sulphur and water (moisture).
The moisture in solids can occur in two forms free and bound.
Free water is more in wood and less in the pores of coke.
Bound water is held by physical adsorption.
The moisture content of the fuels affects the rate of combustion and overall efficiency
of the combustion system.
The impurities like N2 and S are converted into NOx and SO2 which pose
environmental hazard.
The inorganic materials present in the solid fuels will remain as residues even after
the fuel combustion (termed as Ash). They affect the performance of the combustion
system, causes corrosion and fouling of boilers and environmental problems in power
plants.
Ref 2.Page 11
2.2. Solid Fuel (Coal)
2.2.1. Solid Fuels Coal properties
Ignition point or Standard Ignition Temperature
It is the minimum temperature at which the fuel ignites in an oxidising atmosphere
without the help of any external source of fire. It is a characteristic property of the
fuel. It depends upon the other factors like the oxidiser, method of heating, nature of
container etc.
Carbonisation
The process carried out by heating the coal out of contact with air at a sufficiently
high temperature, so that the coal undergoes decomposition and yields a residue
which is rich in carbon content than the original fuel.
Gasification
4

The process of converting solid or liquid fuels into gaseous fuels. Carbonisation is
essentially a partial gasification process. In addition to the main gaseous fuel, some
liquid products are also obtained from gasification. The gaseous product may be
directly used as a fuel or as a raw material for the production of chemicals, fertilisers
and liquid fuels.
Ref 1. Page 19
Caking and coking of coal
Producing a lump state from a powdery state is called caking.
When carbonisation is carried out in commercial coke ovens at temp. > 1000 oC, the
resultant product is sufficiently hard called coke, and the process is known as coking
of coal.
The process of caking is general , while the process of coking is specific.
Cracking of coal
The thermal decomposition process carried out with or without a catalyst.
Larger molecules break down into smaller molecules.
Universally practiced in petroleum refining process.
When cracking is done in presence of hydrogen and catalyst, the process is known as
Hydrocracking.
Ref 1. Page 20
2.2.2. Coal classification and properties
Rank of coal.
Coal is classified into four major types namely anthracite, bituminous, lignite and
peat. However, there is no clear demarcation between them.
1. Peat: The initial stage
2. Lignite: soft coal and the youngest
3. Bituminous
4. Anthracite: hard and geologically the oldest.
The process of conversion from lignite to anthracite is known as metamorphism or
coalification. The position of coal in this metamorphic series is its rank or degree of
metamorphism.
Coal is further classified as semi-anthracite, semi-bituminous, and sub-bituminous.
Anthracite is the oldest coal from a geological perspective. It is a hard coal composed
mainly of carbon with little volatile content and practically no moisture.
Lignite is the youngest coal from a geological perspective. It is a soft coal composed
mainly of volatile matter and moisture content with low fixed carbon.
Fixed carbon refers to carbon in its free state, not combined with other elements.
Volatile matter refers to those combustible constituents of coal that vaporize when
coal is heated.
2.3. Coal properties
Physical properties
Heating or calorific value (GCV)
Moisture content
Volatile matter
5

Ash content
Chemical properties
Chemical constituents:
Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, sulphur

Ref 1. p18-19

The common coals used in for example Indian industry are bituminous and subbituminous coal. The gradation of Indian coal based on its calorific value is as
follows:
Table 2.1. Gradation of coal
Grade
Calorific Value Range Calorific Value
(in kcal/kg)
Range (in kJ/kg)
A
Exceeding 6200
> 26000
B
5600 6200
23500-26000
C
4940 5600
20500-23500
D
4200 4940
17500-20500
E
3360 4200
14000-17500
F
2400 3360
10000-14000
G
1300 2400
5500-10000
Normally D, E and F coal grades are available to Indian industry. The chemical
composition of coal has a strong influence on its combustibility. The properties of
coal are broadly classified as physical properties and chemical properties.
Physical and chemical properties of coal
Physical properties of coal include the heating value, moisture content, volatile matter
and ash. The chemical properties of coal refer to the various elemental chemical
constituents such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and sulphur. The heating value of coal
varies from coal field to coal field. The typical GCVs for various coals are given in
the Table below.
Table 2.2. GCV for various coal types
Parameter
Lignite
Indian Indonesian
South African
(Dry Basis) Coal
Coal
Coal
GCV (kcal/kg)
4500
4000
5500
6000
in kJ/kg
18850
16750
23000
25100
*GCV of lignite on as received basis is 2500 3000 kcal/kg (10500-12500 kJ/kg)
2.4. Analysis of coal
Ref 1. Page 18-19
There are two methods to analyze coal: ultimate analysis and proximate analysis. The
ultimate analysis determines all coal component elements, solid or gaseous and the
proximate analysis determines only the fixed carbon, volatile matter, moisture and
ash percentages. The ultimate analysis is determined in a properly equipped
laboratory by a skilled chemist, while proximate analysis can be determined with a

simple apparatus. (It may be noted that proximate has no connection with the word
approximate).
Measurement of moisture:
The determination of moisture content is carried out by placing a sample of powdered
raw coal of size 200- micron size in an uncovered crucible, which is placed in the
oven kept at 108 +2 oC along with the lid. Then the sample is cooled to room
temperature and weighed again. The loss in weight represents moisture.
Measurement of volatile matter:
A fresh sample of crushed coal is weighed, placed in a covered crucible, and heated
in a furnace at 900 + 15 oC. The sample is cooled and weighed. Loss of weight
represents moisture and volatile matter. The remainder is coke (fixed carbon and ash).
For detailed methodologies (including for determination of carbon and ash content),
refer to IS 1350 part I: 1984, part III, IV.
Measurement of carbon and ash:
The cover from the crucible used in the last test is removed and the crucible is heated
over the Bunsen burner until all the carbon is burned. The residue is weighed, which
is the incombustible ash. The difference in weight from the previous weighing is the
fixed carbon. In actual practice, fixed carbon or FC derived by subtracting from 100
the value of moisture, volatile matter and ash.
2.5. Proximate analysis
Ref 2. Page 13
Simple analysis equipment.
A few g of the fuel is heated inside a furnace at 378 K for 10 h till it attains constant
weight - moisture content.
The volatile matter is determined by heating the sample at 1173 K till it attains
constant weight.
The weight loss during burning the sample will determine the fixed carbon.
The weight of the residue after complete combustion of solid fuel will provide the ash
content.
The main disadvantage of this analysis is that it can not provide a split between
volatile matter and fixed carbon.
The proximate analysis indicates the percentage by weight of fixed carbon, volatiles,
ash, and moisture content in coal. The amounts of fixed carbon and volatile
combustible matter directly contribute to the heating value of coal. Fixed carbon acts
as a main heat generator during burning. High volatile matter content indicates easy
ignition of fuel. The ash content is important in the design of the furnace grate,
combustion volume, pollution control equipment and ash handling systems of a
furnace. A typical proximate analysis of various coal types is given in Table 2.3.
Table 2.3. Typical proximate analysis of various coals (percentage)
Parameter
Indian Coal
Indonesian Coal
South African Coal
Moisture
5.98
9.43
8.5
7

Ash
38.63
13.99
17
Volatile matter
20.70
29.79
23.28
Fixed Carbon
34.69
46.79
51.22
These parameters are described below.
Ref 1. Page 18-19
Fixed carbon:
Fixed carbon is the solid fuel left in the furnace after volatile matter is distilled
off.
Fixed carbon = 100 (moisture + volatile matter + ash).
It consists mostly of carbon but also contains some hydrogen, oxygen, sulphur
and nitrogen not driven off with the gases.
Fixed carbon gives a rough estimate of the heating value of coal.
Volatile matter:
Volatile matters are the methane, hydrocarbons, hydrogen and carbon
monoxide, and incombustible gases like carbon dioxide and nitrogen found in
coal.
Thus the volatile matter is an index of the gaseous fuels present.
A typical range of volatile matter is 20 to 35%.
It is the total weight loss the moisture content when the fuel is heated to
sufficiently high temperature out of contact with air and then cooled crushed
coal.
High volatile matter content indicates easy ignition of fuel.
Proportionately increases flame length, and helps in easier ignition of coal
Sets minimum limit on the furnace height and volume
Influences secondary air requirement and distribution aspects
Influences secondary oil support
Ash content:
Ash is an impurity that will not burn.
Typical range is 5% to 40%.
Ash = inorganic residue left after complete combustion of the fuel in air under
specified conditions
The ash content is important in the design of the furnace grate, combustion
volume, pollution control equipment and ash handling systems of a furnace.
Reduces handling and burning capacity
Increases handling costs
Affects combustion efficiency and boiler efficiency
Causes clinkering and slagging
Moisture content:
Moisture in coal must be transported, handled and stored. Since it replaces
combustible matter, it decreases the heat content per kg of coal.
Moisture:
8

Typical range is 0.5 to 10%.


Reduces the heating value of the fuel.
Determined by weight loss from heated and then cooled powdered raw coal
without causing any chemical change.
Increases heat loss, due to evaporation and superheating of vapour
Helps to a certain extent with binding fines
Aids radiation heat transfer
Sulphur content:
Typical range is 0.5 to 0.8% normally.
Affects clinkering and slagging tendencies
Corrodes chimney and other equipment such as air heaters and conomizers
Limits exit flue gas temperature
Table 2.4. Typical composition of certain solid fuels (wt%) Ref 2. Page 11-13
Solid fuel
Oxygen dry ash
Miosture
Ash (dry)
free
(ash free)
Wood,

40 45

15 - 70

0.1 1.0

Peat
Lignite coal

30 35
20 25

70 90
20 30

0.1 2.0
>5

Bituminous
coal
Anthracite
coal

3-5

10 - 5

>5

1-2

2-4

>5

2.6. Basis for reporting the analysis


Run of mine coal: As obtained from the mine
As received: Sample as received by the customer, after transportation, there will
be a change in the moisture and mineral matter
Air dried: After exposure to heating at 40 oC at 60% relative humidity
Dry: When the effect of moisture content is removed
Dry and ash free (d.a.f.) : When the effect of ash content is removed
Dry and mineral matter free (d.m.m.f.) : The effect of moisture and mineral
matter are excluded in dry coal. This is known as unit coal basis.
Moist and mineral matter free (m.f.) : When the effect of moisture and mineral
content is removed in the reporting data.
For coals with low ash content the d.a.f. basis and d.m.m.f. basis is same.
For high ash coals (>10%), the difference is appreciable.
Example : Indian coals.
Ref. 1. p20.
2.7. Ultimate analysis
9

The ultimate analysis indicates the various elemental chemical constituents such as
carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, sulphur, etc. It is useful in determining the quantity of air
required for combustion and the volume and composition of the combustion gases.
This information is required for the calculation of flame temperature and the flue duct
design etc. Typical ultimate analyses of various coals are given in the table below.
Laboratory analysis
The carbon and hydrogen content of the fuel can be estimated by burning the fuel
in air or O2 and by measuring the combustion products.
Nitrogen content is determined by chemical method.
The S content is evaluated by burning the sample (coal) completely in the
presence of oxygen, which converts S into sulphate (SO4) followed by
precipitation method.
The calorific values of both solid and liquid fuel are determined by using a Bomb
calorimeter.
Ref.1 p18 & Ref 2. p 13
Table 2.5. Typical ultimate analysis of coals
Parameter
Indian coal, (%) Indonesian coal, (%)
Moisture
5.98
9.43
Mineral Matter
38.63
13.99
(1.1 x Ash)
Carbon
41.11
58.96
Hydrogen
2.76
4.16
Nitrogen
1.22
1.02
Sulphur
0.41
0.56
Oxygen
9.89
11.88
Relationship between ultimate analysis and proximate analysis
%C = 0.97C+ 0.7(VM - 0.1A) - M(0.6-0.01M)
%H = 0.036C + 0.086 (VM -0.1 x A) - 0.0035M2 (1-0.02M)
%N2 = 2.10 -0.020 VM
Where
C = % of fixed carbon
A = % of ash
VM = % of volatile matter
M = % of moisture
Note: the above equation is valid for coal with greater than 15% moisture content.
2.8. Solid fuels (Physical properties) Heating values of the fuel
During combustion of a fuel heat is liberated.
The quantity of heat evolved by the combustion of unit quantity of the fuel (either
unit mass or unit volume) at normal temperature (298 K) and pressure (1 atm or
0.1MPa) is referred as its Calorific value or Heating value.

10

(i). Gross Calorific Value (G.C.V.) at constant volume (HHV)


It is the quantity of heat liberated by combusting the fuel at constant volume in air
with oxygen at 298 K, and when the product water formed as product is in the
liquid state.
(ii). Gross Calorific Value at constant pressure
It is similar to the above except the fact that combustion takes place at constant
pressure. Under laboratory conditions solid and liquid fuels are burnt under
constant volume and gaseous fuels are burnt under constant pressure.
In ovens and furnaces, however combustion takes place at constant pressure. The
difference between the two values is usually small and for coal, the (GCV)p is
higher than (GCV)v by 5.5 kcal/kg.
Ref. 1. p18.
(iii). Net Calorific Value (N.C.V.) at constant volume (LHV)
The NCV is the quantity of heat evolved when a unit quantity of the fuel is burnt
in air under constant volume at 298 K, the water obtained from the fuel is in the
vapour state.
Therefore NCV (LHV) is lower than GCV (HHV).
The difference is the latent heat of vaporisation of water = 583.5 kcal/kg = 10.503
kCal/mole = 43.97 kJ/gmole or 43.97 MJ/kgmole
For a solid fuel,

NCV = GCV 5.25 *H (kcal/g)


Or NCV = GCV 21.98 * H (MJ/kg)
where H is the mass % of hydrogen in coal including hydrogen in moisture and
water of hydration of minerals.
For gaseous fuels, the formula is
NCV = GCV 0.47* V (kcal/Nm3)
the units for NCV and GCV are in kcal/NM3 , or
NCV = GCV 1.96* V (MJ/Nm3)
V is the vol % of total hydrogen in the fuel including water vapour present in the
fuel.
(iv). Net Calorific Value (N.C.V.) at constant pressure
It is similar except that the combustion takes place at constant pressure.
Ref. 1. p18-19
Table 2.6. The typical gross heating values (GVCs) for various coals are:
Parameter
Lignite
Indian
Indonesian South African Coal
(Dry Basis)
Coal
Coal
GCV (kcal/kg)
4500
4000
5500
6000
(MJ/kg)
18.83
16.74
23.0
25.12
(MBTU/lb)

8.10

7.21

11

9.91

10.80

2.9. Storage, handling and preparation of coal


Uncertainty in the availability and transportation of fuel necessitates storage and
subsequent handling. Storing coal has its own disadvantages like build-up of
inventory, space constraints,
deterioration in quality and potential fire hazards. Other minor losses associated with
the storage of coal include oxidation, wind and carpet loss. A 1% oxidation of coal
has the same effect as 1% ash in coal. Wind losses may account for nearly 0.5 1.0
% of the total loss.
The main goal of good coal storage is to minimize carpet loss and the loss due to
spontaneous combustion. Formation of a soft carpet, comprising of coal dust and soil,
causes carpet loss.
On the other hand, if the temperature gradually rises in a coal heap, then oxidation
may lead to spontaneous combustion of coal stored. Carpet losses can be reduced by:
1. Preparing a hard solid surface for coal to be stored
2. Preparing standard storage bays of concrete and brick
In industry, coal handling methods range from manual and conveyor systems. It
would be advisable to minimize the handling of coal so that further generation of
fines and segregation effects are reduced.
The preparation of coal prior to feeding into the boiler is an important step for
achieving good combustion. Large and irregular lumps of coal may cause the
following problems:
Poor combustion conditions and inadequate furnace temperature
Higher excess air resulting in higher stack loss
Increase of unburnt materials in the ash
Low thermal efficiency
Note: A detailed description for the preparation of coal is given under the section
Energy Efficiency Opportunities.
Lecture 4: Properties of Liquid Fuels
Liquid fuels like furnace oil and LSHS (low sulphur heavy stock) are predominantly
used in industrial applications.
Ref 2. Page 7 - 11
Usage
Used extensively in industrial applications
Examples
Furnace oil
Light diesel oil
Petrol
Kerosene
Ethanol
LSHS (low sulphur heavy stock)
Merits and demerits of liquid fuels over solid fuels
Merits:

12

1. Higher calorific value


2. lower storage capacity
3. Better economy in handling
4. Better control of consumption by using valves
5. Better cleanliness and free from dust
6. Practically no ashes
7. Non-deterioration in storage
8. Non-corrosion of boiler plates
9. Higher efficiency
Demerits:
1. Higher cost
2. Greater risk of fire
3.Costly containers for storage and transport
Table 4.1. Types of liquid fuels and oxidisers
Liquid fuel
Oxidiser
Applications
Gasoline
Air
SI Engine, aircraft piston
engines
HSD
Air
CI Engine
Furnace oil
Air
Furnaces
Kerosene
Air
Aircraft, gas turbine, ramjet,
domestic fuel
Alcohols
Air
IC engine
Hydrazine,
Liquid O2,
Ramjet/scramjet,
UDMH, MMH
Nitrogen tetroxide (N2O4), Liquid rocket propellant
Liquid H2,
RFNA
fuel,
Tryethyl amine
UDMH: Unsymmetrical dimethyl hydrazine & MMH: monomethyl hydrazine
RFNA: Red fuming nitric acid.
Ref 2. Page 8-11
The various properties of liquid fuels are given below.
4.1. Density
Density is defined as the ratio of the mass of the fuel to the volume of the fuel at a
reference temperature of 15C. Density is measured by an instrument called a
hydrometer. The knowledge of density is useful for quantitative calculations and
assessing ignition qualities.
The unit of density is kg/m3.
4.2. Specific gravity
This is defined as the ratio of the weight of a given volume of oil to the weight of the
same volume of water at a given temperature. The density of fuel, relative to water, is
called specific gravity. The specific gravity of water is defined as 1. Since specific

13

gravity is a ratio, it has no units. The measurement of specific gravity is generally


made by a hydrometer.
Specific gravity is used in calculations involving weights and volumes. The specific
gravity of various fuel oils is given in Table below:

Fuel Oil
Specific
Gravity

Table 4.2. Specific gravity of various fuel oils


(adapted from Thermax India Ltd.)
L.D.O.
Furnace oil L.S.H.S
(Light Diesel Oil)
(Low Sulphur Heavy Stock)
0.85 - 0.87
0.89 - 0.95
0.88 - 0.98

4.3. Viscosity
Ref 2. Page 10
The viscosity of a fluid is a measure of its internal resistance to flow. Viscosity
depends on the temperature and decreases as the temperature increases. Any
numerical value for viscosity has no meaning unless the temperature is also specified.
Viscosity is measured in Stokes / Centistokes. Sometimes viscosity is also quoted in
Engler, Saybolt or Redwood.
Each type of oil has its own temperature - viscosity relationship. The measurement of
viscosity is made with an instrument called a Viscometer.
Viscosity is the most important characteristic in the storage and use of fuel oil. It
influences the degree of pre- heating required for handling, storage and satisfactory
atomization. If the oil is too viscous, it may become difficult to pump, hard to light
the burner, and difficult to handle. Poor atomization may result in the formation of
carbon deposits on the burner tips or on the walls. Therefore pre-heating is necessary
for proper atomization.
4.4. Flash point
Ref 2. Page 10
The flash point of a fuel is the lowest temperature at which the fuel can be heated so
that the vapour gives off flashes momentarily when an open flame is passed over it.
(or the liquid fuel will produce sufficient vapours to form a flammable mixture with
air and can produce a momentary flame) i.e. the max. temp at which the liquid fuel
can be stored without any fire hazard. The flash point for furnace oil is 66 0C.
4.5. Fire point
Lowest temperature at which the liquid fuel will produce sufficient vapours to form a
flammable mixture with air that continuously supports combustion establishing a
flame instead of just flashing even after the ignition is withdrawn.
Note that for the same fuel, the fire point is always higher than the flash point.
4. 6. Pour point
The pour point of a fuel is the lowest temperature at which it will pour or flow when
cooled under prescribed conditions. It is a very rough indication of the lowest
temperature at which fuel oil is ready to be pumped.
4.7. Smoke point

14

It is measure of tendency of a liquid to produce carbon particles known as soot.


Generally it is measured by burning the fuel in a special wick lamp, in which the
flame height is increased slowly till it starts producing smoke. The maximum height
in terms of mm of smokeless flame, at which, the flame starts smoking is termed as
smoke point.
Ref 2. Page 10
Hence higher the smoke point, lower will be the tendency of the fuel to smoke.
4.8. Specific heat
Specific heat is the amount of kcal needed to raise the temperature of 1 kg of oil by
10C. The unit of specific heat is kcal/kg0C. It varies from 0.22 to 0.28 depending on
the oil specific gravity. The specific heat determines how much steam or electrical
energy it takes to heat oil to a desired temperature. Light oils have a low specific heat,
whereas heavier oils have a higher specific heat.
4.9. Standard ignition temperature (SIT)
This is the lowest temperature required to make the combustion self sustained without
any external aid, (spark or flame) in a standard container.
It is a characteristic property of the fuel, but also depends on other factors like nature
of oxidant O2 or air, method of heating, nature of container etc.
4.10. Calorific value
The calorific value is the measurement of heat or energy produced, and is measured
either as gross calorific value or net calorific value. The difference is determined by
the latent heat of condensation of the water vapour produced during the combustion
process. Gross calorific value (GCV) assumes all vapour produced during the
combustion process is fully condensed.
Net calorific value (NCV) assumes the water leaves with the combustion products
without fully being condensed. Fuels should be compared based on the net calorific
value.
The calorific value of coal varies considerably depending on the ash, moisture
content and the type of coal while calorific values of fuel oils are much more
consistent. The typical GCVs of some of the commonly used liquid fuels are given
below:
Table 4.3. Gross calorific values for different fuel oils
(adapted from Thermax India Ltd.)
Fuel Oil
Gross Calorific Value (GCV)
(kCal/kg) (kJ/kg)
Kerosene 11,100
46500
Diesel oil 10,800
45200
L.D.O
10,700
44800
Furnace oil 10,500
44000
LSHS
10,600
44400
4.11. Sulphur content

15

The amount of sulphur in the fuel oil depends mainly on the source of the crude oil
and to a lesser extent on the refining process. The normal sulfur content for the
residual fuel oil (furnace oil) is in the order of 2 - 4 %. Typical figures for different
fuel oils are shown in Table 4.4.
The main disadvantage of sulphur is the risk of corrosion by sulphuric acid formed
during and after combustion, and condensation in cool parts of the chimney or stack,
air pre-heater and economizer.
Table 4.4. Percentages of sulphur for different fuel oils
(adapted from Thermax India Ltd.)
Fuel oil
Percentage of sulphur
Kerosene
0.05 - 0.2
Diesel Oil
0.05 - 0.25
L.D.O
0.5 - 1.8
Furnace Oil
2.0 - 4.0
LSHS
< 0.5
4.12. Ash content
The ash value is related to the inorganic material or salts in the fuel oil. The ash levels
in distillate fuels are negligible. Residual fuels have higher ash levels. These salts
may be compounds of sodium, vanadium, calcium, magnesium, silicon, iron,
aluminum, nickel, etc.
Typically, the ash value is in the range 0.03 - 0.07 %. Excessive ash in liquid fuels
can cause fouling deposits in the combustion equipment. Ash has an erosive effect on
the burner tips, causes damage to the refractories at high temperatures and gives rise
to high temperature corrosion and fouling of equipments.
4.13. Carbon residue
Carbon residue indicates the tendency of oil to deposit a carbonaceous solid residue
on a hot surface, such as a burner or injection nozzle, when its vaporizable
constituents evaporate.
Residual oil contains carbon residue of 1 percent or more.
4.14. Water content
Typical specifications of fuel oils are summarized in the Table below.
Table 4.5. Typical specifications of fuel oils
(adapted from Thermax India Ltd.)
Properties
Fuel Oils
Furnace Oil
L.S.H.S
L.D.O
0
Density (approx. g/cc at 15 C)
0.89 - 0.95 0.88 - 0.98
0.85 - 0.87
0
Flash point ( C)
66
93
66
0
Pour point ( C)
20
72
18
G.C.V. (kcal/kg)
10500
10600
10700
Sediment (% Wt.max)
0.25
0.25
0.1
Sulphur Total (% Wt. max)
up to 4.0
up to 0.5
up to 1.8

16

Water Content (%Vol.max)


Ash (% Wt. max)

1.0
0.1

1.0
0.1

0.25
0.02

The water content of furnace oil when it is supplied is normally very low because the
product at refinery site is handled hot. An upper limit of 1% is specified as a standard.
Water may be present in free or emulsified form and can cause damage to the inside
surfaces of the furnace during combustion especially if it contains dissolved salts. It
can also cause spluttering of the flame at the burner tip, possibly extinguishing the
flame, reducing the flame temperature or lengthening the flame.
Table 4.6. Properties of some Liquid Fuels
Liquid fuel
Gasoline Diesel Methanol Kerosene Aviation
fuel
Turbine
Fuel
(ATF:JP8)
Sp. Gravity
0.72-0.78 0.85
0.796
0.82
0.71
Kinematic viscosity at 293
0.8
2.5
2
6
K (m /s) x 10
Boiling point (K)
303-576 483-508
Flash Point (K)
230
325
Auto ignition temp. (K)
643
527
Stochiometric A/F
14.7
14.7
by weight
Heat of vaorisation (kJ/kg)
380
375
LHV (MJ/kg)

43.5

45

0.75

3.626

--

338
284
737
6.45

423-473
311
483
15

442
325
-15.1

1185

298.5

--

20.1

45.2

43.3

Table 4.7. Typical specifications of fuel oils


Properties
Fuel oils
Furnace oil L.S.S.H.
L.D.O
o
Density (g/cc at 15 C) 0.89 0.95 0.88 - 0.98 0.88 - 0.97
Flash point (oC)
66
93
66
o
Pour point ( C)
20
72
18
G.C.V. (kcal/kg)
10500
10600
10700
Sediment (% Wt. max.)
0.25
0.25
0.1
Sulphur (% Wt. max.)
< 4.0
< 0.5
< 1.8
Water content
1.0
1
0.25
(% Vol. max.)
Ash (% Wt. max.)
0.1
0.1
0.02

17

Storage of Fuel oil


It can be potentially hazardous to store furnace oil in barrels. A better practice is to
store it in cylindrical tanks, either above or below the ground. Furnace oil that is
delivered may contain dust, water and other contaminants. The sizing of the storage
tank facility is very important. A recommended storage size estimate is to provide for
at least 10 days of normal consumption. Industrial heating fuel storage tanks are
generally vertical mild steel tanks mounted above the ground. It is prudent for safety
and environmental reasons to build bund walls around tanks to contain accidental
spillages.
As a certain amount of settlement of solids and sludge will occur in tanks over time,
tanks should be cleaned at regular intervals: annually for heavy fuels and every two
years for light fuels. Care should be taken when oil is decanted from the tanker to the
storage tank. All leaks from joints, flanges and pipelines must be attended to at the
earliest. Fuel oil should be free from possible contaminants such as dirt, sludge and
water before it is fed to the combustion system.
Lecture 5: Properties of gaseous fuels
Gas fuels are the most convenient because they require the least amount of handling
and are used in the simplest and most maintenance-free burner systems. Gas is
delivered "on tap" via a distribution network and so is suited for areas with a high
population or industrial density.
However, large individual consumers do have gasholders and some produce their own
gas.
5.1. Types of gaseous fuel
The following is a list of the types of gaseous fuel:
Fuels naturally found in nature:
- Natural gas
- Methane from coal mines
Fuel gases made from solid fuel
- Gases derived from coal
- Gases derived from waste and biomass
- From other industrial processes (bla st furnace gas)
Gases made from petroleum
- Liquefied Petroleum gas (LPG)
- Refinery gases
- Gases from oil gasification
Gases from some fermentation process
Gaseous fuels in common use are liquefied petroleum gases (LPG), Natural gas,
producer gas, blast furnace gas, coke oven gas etc. The calorific value of gaseous fuel
is expressed in Kilocalories per normal cubic meter (kCal/Nm 3) i.e. at normal
temperature (20 0C) and pressure (760 mm Hg).
5.2. Advantages of gaseous fuels

18

Most convenient to use.


Free from solid and liquid impurities.
Least amount of handling.
The supply of fuel gas, and hence the temp. of the furnace can be easily
maintained.
Undergo complete combustion with minimum air supply.
A higher temp is obtained at moderate cost by preheating the gas and air with
waste heats of exhaust gases of combustion.
Simplest burners systems and Burner systems require least maintenance.
Diretly used in IC engines
Environmental benefits:
- do not produce ash or smoke
- lowest GHG and other emissions
Demerits:
Readily inflammable
Require large storage capacity
5.3.Types of gaseous fuels
1. Coal gas or Town gas:
Obtained by the carbonisation of coal.
It is a mixture of hydrogen, carbon monoxide and other hydrocarbons.
Composition varies with quality of coal, temp. of carbonisation and type of plant.
Street lighting, domestic lighting and heating.
Its calorific value is very high 21,000 -25,000 kJ/m3.
2. Producer gas:
Produced by partial combustion of coal in a mixed air steam blast.
Its calorific value is 5000 - 6700 kJ/m3.
Used for furnaces for glass melting and for power generation.
3. Water gas:
A mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide.
Made by passing steam over coke.
Usually mixed with coal gas to form town gas.
Burns with a blue flame, and used in furnaces and for welding.
Mond gas:
Produced by passing and excess steam over waste coal at 6500C.
Its calorific value is about 5,850 kJ/m3.
It is used for power generation and heating.
5. Blast furnace gas:
A by-product in the production of pig iron in a blast furnace.
Has dust content depending upon the operation of the blast furnace.
Its calorific value is 3750 kJ/m3.
Used as a fuel in steel works, in gas engines for power generation, for steam raising
in boilers and for preheating the blast for furnace.
19

6. Coke oven gas:


It is a byproduct from coke oven obtained by the carbonisation of bituminous coal.
Its calorific value varies from 14,500 18,500 kJ/m3.
Used for industrial heating and power generation.
5.4. Gaseous fuels and oxidiser
Table 5.1. Types of gaseous fuel and oxidiser (Ref 2. Page 5)
Gaseous fuel
Oxidiser
Applications
Liquefied petroleum
Air/O2
Domestic burner, furnace
gas (LPG)
Natural gas (NG)
Air/O2
IC Engine, furnace
H2, CH4, C3H8 etc
Air//O2
IC Engine
Producer gas

Air/O2

IC Engine

Biogas
Acetylene

Air/O2
Air/O2

Engine, domestic burner


Gas welding, cutting

Table. 5.2.Typical composition (%) of various gaseous fuels. (Ref 2. Page 6)


Gaseous fuel
CO2 O2 N2 CO H2 CH4 C2H6 C3H8 C4H10 SG
NG
--- 5 -- -- 90 5
--0.6
LPG
--- -- -- -- --70
30
1.697
Propane
Butane
Coal gas
Coke oven gas

--2.1
2.2

--0.4
0.8

--4.4
8.1

--13.5
6.3

-- --- -51.9 24.3


46.5 32.1

Producer gas
Blast furnace
Biogas

8.0 0.1 50 23.2 17.7 1


11.5 -- 60 27.5 1
-33 -- 1 -- 1
65

2.2
----

97.3
6
---

0.5
94
---

1.55
2.04
0.42
0.44

----

----

----

0.86
1.02
0.8

5.5. Properties of gaseous fuels


Since most gas combustion appliances cannot utilize the heat content of the water
vapour, gross calorific value is of little interest. Fuel should be compared based on
the net calorific value. This is especially true for natural gas, since increased
hydrogen content results in high water formation during combustion.
Typical physical and chemical properties of various gaseous fuels are given in Table .
Table 5.3. Typical physical and chemical properties of various gaseous fuels
Fuel Gas
Relative
Higher Heating
Air/Fuel ratio
Flame
Flame
3
3
Density
Value kcal/Nm
m of air to
Temp.Speed
3
m of Fuel
(oC)
m/s
20

Natural gas 0.60


9350
10
1954
0.290
Propane
1.52
22200
25
1967
0.460
Butane
1.96
28500
32
1973
0.870
Table. 5.4. Typical physical and chemical properties of various gaseous fuelscontinued
Ref.2. p.6
3
Gaseous fuel
Heating Values (kJ/Nm )
Gross
Net
NG
37,300
33,680
LPG
102,577
64,878
Propane
95,290
87,640
Butane
119,580
110,300
Coal gas
19,370
17,360
Coke oven gas
21,200
18,960
Producer gas
5,330
4,950
Blast furnace
3,430
3,430
Biogas
28,890
25,700
5.6. LPG
Ref. 2. p.5
LPG is a predominant mixture of propane and butane with a small percentage of
unsaturates (Propylene and Butylene) and some lighter C2 as well as heavier C5
fractions. Included in the LPG range are propane (C 3H8), Propylene (C3H6), normal
and iso-butane (C4H10) and Butylene (C4H8). LPG may be defined as those
hydrocarbons, which are gaseous at normal atmospheric pressure, but may be
condensed to the liquid state at normal temperature, by the application of moderate
pressures. Although they are normally used as gases, they are stored and transported
as liquids under pressure for convenience and ease of handling. Liquid LPG
evaporates to produce about 250 times volume of gas.
LPG vapour is denser than air: butane is about twice as heavy as air and propane
about one and a half times as heavy as air. Conseque ntly, the vapour may flow along
the ground and into drains sinking to the lowest level of the surroundings and be
ignited at a considerable distance from the source of leakage. In still air vapour will
disperse slowly. Escape of even small quantities of the liquefied gas can give rise to
large volumes of vapour / air mixture and thus cause considerable hazard. To aid in
the detection of atmospheric leaks, all LPGs are required to be odorized. There
should be adequate ground level ventilation where LPG is stored. For this very reason
LPG cylinders should not be stored in cellars or basements, which have no ventilation
at ground level.
5.7. Natural gas
Ref.2. p5.
Methane is the main constituent of natural gas and accounting for about 95% of the
total volume. Other components are: Ethane, Propane, Butane, Pentane, Nitrogen,
21

Carbon Dioxide, and traces of other gases. Very small amounts of sulphur compounds
are also present. Since methane is the largest component of natural gas, generally
properties of methane are used when comparing the properties of natural gas to other
fuels.
Natural gas is a high calorific value fuel requiring no storage facilities. It mixes with
air readily and does not produce smoke or soot. It contains no sulphur. It is lighter
than air and disperses into air easily in case of leak. A typical comparison of carbon
contents in oil, coal and gas is given in the table below.
Table 5.5. Comparison of chemical composition of various fuels
Fuel Oil
Coal
Natural gas
Carbon
84
41.11
74
Hydrogen
12
2.76
25
Sulphur
3
0.41
Oxygen
1
9.89
Trace
Nitrogen
Trace
1.22
0.75
Ash
Trace
38.63
Water
Trace
5.98
Energy content of different fuels

22

Review Questions
General
1.What is meant by the term fuels? What are its constituents?

(2)

1. Write a brief note on the classification of fuels. Mention the nature of oxidiser
and their applications by giving examples.
2. Define ignition and standard Ignition temperature.

(5)
(2)

3. Discuss the importance of fuel and oxidiser ratio in combustion.

(2)

Solid Fuels
4. What is the most suitable fuel for a rocket engine: (i). gas, (ii). solid (iii). liquid?
Support your choice with some reasons.

(5)

5. Differentiate between caking and coking of coal

(2)

6. What is meant by rank of coal? Explain in detail.

(5)

7. What is coalification? Explain.

(2)

8. Explain the different methods of analysis of coal? What type of information you
can get from such methods? What is the difference between the above methods
and describe the parameters analysed.

(10)

9. Explain how the moisture content affects the combustion of coal

(5)

10.Discuss the influence of ash content in coal on its combustion properties. (2)
11.How the volatile matter present in coal is estimated?

(2)

12.How the moisture content in coal is estimated?

(2)

13.Distinguish between coal, coke and charcoal.

(2)

14.Explain the process of obtaining coke from coal. Name the process.

(5)

15.Discuss the influence of impurities present in coal. How they affect the
combustion of coal?

(5)

16. Explain how the different varieties of coal differ in their physical properties. (5)
17. What is meant by d.a.f. coal and d.m.m.f. coal?

(2)

18. Explain the ultimate and proximate methods of analysis of carbon fuel. Explain
how they are inter-related.

(5)

23

19.Distinguish between High calorific value and Low calorific value. Explain their
relationship.

(2)

Liquid fuels
20.List out the merits and demerits of liquid fuels over solid fuels.

(5)

21.What do you mean by the term Flash point of a fuel? How can it be determined
experimentally?

(2)

22.Bring out the difference between flash point and fire point of liquid fuels. (2)
23.How can the smoke point of a fuel be determined experimentally? Why its value is
so important?

(2)

24. What is pour point of a fuel? Why does one need to know about it?

(2)

25.For a liquid fuel, the fire point is always higher than the flash point. Is it true?
Explain with suitable arguments.

(5)

26.Explain how the different physical properties of liquid fuels are estimated. (10)
27.Explain how the different liquid fuels differ in their physical properties. (5)
28.Discuss the influence of impurities present in liquid fuel oil. How they affect its
combustion characteristics

(5)

Gaseous fuels
29. What are the advantages of gaseous fuels?

(5)

30. Why is gaseous fuel preferred over solid or liquid fuels in recent times? (5)
31. What are the problems posed by the gaseous fuels?

(2)

32.Mention different types of gaseous fuels and their composition and their
applications.

(5)

33. Mention different types of gaseous fuels and explain how their different physical
properties are compared.

(10)

34. Explain the fuel characteristics of LPG

24

(5)

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