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Combustion of Poultry Litter in

BubblingFluidised Beds - Results from a new
120 MWth Unit

Conference Paper June 2009

DOI: 10.13140/2.1.4690.3366


0 854

4 authors, including:

Markus Bolhar-Nordenkampf Ingo Tschanun

Valmet GesmbH Andritz AG


Sebastian Kaiser
Andritz AG


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M.Bolhr-Nordenkampf, F. Gartnar, I. Tschanun, S.Kaiser

Austrian Energy & Environment AG; Siemensstrasse 89, A-1210 Vienna
Phone: +43/1/250 45 - 4785; Fax: +43/1/25 84 139; Mail:

ABSTRACT: Biomass fuel exists in various forms, traditionally as wood, bark, harvesting residues sewage sludge
and organic waste resulting from agricultural industry. With the actual on or near site availability of biomass fuels
and the trend for independent power production the demand for reliable biomass fired power plants is increasing. To
satisfy this demand, a combustion technology, which can cope with a broad fuel range as well as with low ash
melting points, and in on the other hand can produce at high steam parameters without the risk of corrosion, is
necessary. To comply with these demands the standard bubbling fluidized bed technology normally operating in
combustion mode was modified to a staged combustion concept. The fuel is gasified in the bed to yield combustible
gases which are then combusted in the post combustion chamber. Last year in Moerdijk/Netherlands the second FBC-
plant based on chicken litter was successfully put into operation. The boiler has a thermal capacity of 118.5 MWth
which equals 36 MW electrical output. The boiler is designed for 67 barg at a live steam temperature of 478C. It
consist of a integrated fluidized bed boiler with, with a electrostatic precipitator, flue gas cleaning based on the
Turobsorp mechanism and a SCR-system. The investment volume was nearly 150 Mio Euro to burn 440.000 tons of
poultry litter a year which equals of 65 trucks a day for the sufficient fuel supply. The plant produces 270 GWhel/year
of green electricity for 90.000 households.
Keywords: fluidized bed, combustion, manure, agroindustrial residues, industrial scale application, dedicated
biopower plant.

1 INTRODUCTION 650C-820C. Therefore, also fuel with low ash melting

temperature can be burned without any sintering
As a worldwide supplier of fluidized bed combustion problems in the bed. The standard operation temperature
plants the reference list of Austrian Energy & of the fluidised bed is approximately 760C.
Environment comprises 90 steam generators with The gasification gases rising from the bed are fully
capacities from 9 t/h to 400 t/h. with a fuel range from combusted by adding secondary air to the boiler. This
coal, biomass, sludges, RDF to various industrial wastes. causes a rise in temperature and oxygen content (Fig. 1).
Depending on special requirements of the various The turbulence in this area of the first pass results in very
fuels and the size of the boiler different combustion low CO-values in the fuel gas.
systems like the bubbling fluidized bed or an external For high calorific fuels recirculation gas is injected
circulating fluidized bed technology will be used. above the secondary air to cool the flue gases in the
All of these systems have been developed by AE&E post combustion chamber. This staged combustion
and will allow maximum flexibility in the range of fuels. concept results in a homogenous and moderate
Beside environmentally sound combustion with low temperature profile in the furnace and first pass of the
emissions, maximum boiler efficiency is the main target. boiler and thus low NOx emission. If needed, NOx
In this paper a new biomass fired plant using chicken emissions can be easily controlled by installing a SNCR
litter as fuel in the Netherlands will be described and at the appropriate temperature level in the boiler. If
characterised. necessary refractory lined superheaters in the first pass
and the second pass corrosion problems can be
minimized although high steam parameters can be
2 COMBUSTION TECHNOLOGY obtained. These properties enable the ECOFLUID
bubbling fluidised bed to handle a broad fuel range with
The applied combustion technology is the different heating values as well as corrosive fuels (e.g.
ECOFLUID bubbling fluidised bed. The main feature of net calorific values in a range of 3 to 20 MJ/kg) [1-4].
this technology is the principle of staged combustion of Temperature Profile [C] Oxygen Profile [Vol%dry]

25 25
the fuel.
The oxygen level in the fluidised bed is limited and
hence only a part of the fuel is combusted, whereas the 20 20
rest of the fuel is gasified. This can be achieved by
adding a substoichiometric amount of oxygen (lambda 5 15
approx. 0.35) to the fuel. However, in order to keep a
constant lambda and temperature in the bed, this would 0 10
result in a fluctuation of the fluidisation air volume flow
and hence in fluidisation of the bed in accordance to the 5 5
heating value of the fuel. Since this effect is not desired,
the primary air is mixed with recirculated flue gas. This 0 0
allows the control of lambda and the bed temperature as 700 900 1100 012345678
well as keeping the fluidisation of the bed at a constant
This substoichiometric bed operation allows the Figure 1: Temperature and oxygen profile in the
control of the bed temperature in the range between combustion chamber of the fluidised bed boiler
4.1 Basis for the design of the fluidized bed combustion
Waste from the poultry industry includes a mixture of Considering the difficult fuel properties and the range
excreta (manure), bedding material or litter (e.g. wood of the heating values, the decision was made to use an
shavings or straw), waste feed, dead birds, broken eggs ECOFLUID bubbling bed with substoichiometric
and feathers removed from poultry houses. Its nature is combustion in the bed and a secondary air supply for the
heterogeneous and this could hence considerably vary the post combustion chamber.
ash composition. The presence of K in ashes is very
much a function of what type bedding material is used, Table I: Design values of the boiler
and usually K2O being very high if straw is used reaching Design Values
30-35%. On the other hand, the use of wood shavings Max. fuel heat rate 119.0 MW
reduces the level of K2O considerably, being below 16- Lower heating Value 6.000 9.000 kJ/kg
22%. For these reasons, poultry litter is quite different Moisture 25 50 %
from other biomass fuels or coal. Ash content max. 34 %
The humidity can reach well over 40% which give Fuel flow max. 66 t/h
considerable challenges in both feeding and in Control range 65 100 %
maintaining the sustainable combustion. The calorific Combustion temperatures 700 900 C
value of poultry litter decreases with increasing moisture
content, air dried samples having a typical value of
Considering the difficult fuel properties and the range
13.5 GJ/ton, which is about half that of coal. Poultry litter
of the heating values, the decision was made to use an
has a low ash fusion temperature. This ash fusion can
ECOFLUID bubbling bed with substoichiometric
cause problems when using a conventional grate
combustion in the bed and a secondary air supply for the
combustion and a non advanced fluidized bed systems.
post combustion chamber.
Parameters such as combustion temperature, air mixture
and moisture content must be held within optimal
Table II: Design parameters of the boiler
specifications for the efficient running of a combustion
facility and vary for combustion design. The process Design Values
produces an ash residue, which retains most of the Max. fuel heat rate 119.0 MW
phosphate and potash present in the fresh litter. The Lower heating Value 6.000 9.000 kJ/kg
original nitrogen concentration is variable and loss to the Moisture 25 50 %
atmosphere on combustion as NOx, may not be Ash content max. 34 %
considered a problem. The nitrogen in poultry litter exists Fuel flow max. 66 t/h
in two forms: inorganic nitrogen and ammonia nitrogen. Control range 65 100 %
What is oxidized to NOx is ammonia nitrogen and this Combustion temperatures 700 900 C
results in NOx well below what is permitted by EU
directives. The ash is stable, sterile, easier to handle and The required residence time after last air injection
transport and more marketable as an organic fertilizer level and at a temperature higher 850C is two seconds.
than conventional poultry litter. The emissions are related to 11 % O2 content in dry flue
gas (mean daily averaged).


Pollutants according decree Emission limit
The technical concept comprises a biomass power Carbon monoxide CO 100 mg/Nm3
plant with a new bubbling fluidised bed boiler. For Sulphur dioxide SOX 50 mg/Nm3
electricity production a new installed steam turbine in Nitrogen oxides NOx as NO2 70 mg/Nm3
condensation mode is used. With an estimated operation Unburnt organic carbon Corg 10 mg/Nm3
of 8000 h/year 270 GWh/year of electricity can be Dust 5 mg/Nm3
produced, which corresponds to a supply of 90.000 Hydro chloride HCl 10 mg/Nm3
private households with electricity. Hydro fluoride HF 1 mg/Nm3
As fuel poultry litter from chicken farms in the
Netherlands is used. Together with the chicken litter incombustible parts
The permit was granted in 2005, the erection was are usually fed to the fluidized bed, where they collect
started beginning 2007 and the boiler reached the PAC in and hinder the fluidization. To prevent this, an open type
September 2008. Green power feed in tariffs were air distributor in AE&E design was built. This air
granted for thirteen years according to the Federal Green distributor enables the drain of bed material over the
Power Regulation. whole bed cross section during operation.
To maintain a constant fluidization of the bed at a
The plant consists of the following subsystems: constant bed temperature flue gas is added to the primary
Fuel unloading and storage air to the bed. To control the temperature in the post
Fuel feeding combustion chamber recirculated flue gas is used, too.
Fluidized bed steam generator
Combustion air system and burners 4.2 Plant description
Bed material and ash handling Fluidized Bed Combustion and Steam Generator
Flue gas cleaning (ESP, Turbosorp, Bag Filter, The steam generator is a bottom supported 3-pass
SCR) type with natural circulation, where 3 passes are
integrated in the evaporator waterwalls. In the first pass
Ash storage
evaporator wing walls are installed to increase the heat
release before the second pass. In the second pass by means of air spouts.
superheater 1 is located as wing walls in co-current flow Burner System
according to the flue gas flow. Start up of the fluidized bed boiler is carried out with
The steam generator is designed for the following four oil burners, heating the bed material to the ignition
data: temperature of the litter. Two burners are installed in the
Live steam flow 36,67 kg/s freeboard of the bubbling-fluidized bed, another two in
Live steam pressure 66 barg the post combustion chamber to ensure the desired
Live steam temperature 478C emission limits by maintaining the 850C for two
Feedwater temperature 112 C seconds during start-up and also for fuels with very low
heating value.
The bubbling fluidized bed is situated in the lower Bed Material and Ash Handling
part of the boiler. The waterwalls in the fluidized bed and The bed material together with the impurities is
a part of the post-combustion chamber are covered with drained continuously from the furnace hoppers with
refractory material due to erosion protection and thermal sieving screws, where the coarse parts are separated from
reasons. The primary air enters the bubbling fluidized bed the fine particles and sand. The fine material can be either
via the open type air distributor. returned into the bed reducing the sand consumption of
In the lower third of the combustion chamber, the the boiler or can be sent to the ash silo for disposal.
cross section is reduced to enhance the mixing of the The ash from the second pass is collected by a water
gasification gases and the secondary combustion air. The cooled screws and conveyed pneumatically to the ash
secondary air is distributed over this reduced cross silo. The ash from the economiser, the electrostatic
section together with the recirculated flue gas for precipitator and are collected in separate systems.
temperature control in the post combustion chamber. This However, part of the bag house filter ash is recirculated
results in a staged combustion and a temperature increase to the Turbosorp reactor, the remaining ash is discharged.
to 870C up to 950C at the maximum in the post Flue Gas Cleaning
combustion chamber. The major dust load of the flue gas is removed in the
Four superheaters are situated in the third pass. To electrostatic precipitator which is arranged before the
avoid high temperature corrosion, the final superheater is Turbosorp reactor. The flue gas is cleaned further in the
arranged between superheater three and two. The fourth Turbosorp reactor from chlorine, sulphur, fluorine and
pass, built as carbon steel casing, contains the heavy metal components. Hydrated lime is dosed as an
economizer, which cools the flue gases down to 190C. absorption agent as well as the possibility to dose active
Solid Fuel System carbon is foreseen. After the Turbosorp reactor a bag
filter removes the remaining dust from the flue gas. To
keep the NOx emissions below the limit, a selective
catalytic reduction system (SCR) is installed. As SCR-
media ammonia is used and injected into the heat flue gas
before the catalyst at a suitable temperature level. The ID
fan ensures the balanced draft in the combustion


The commissioning started in February 2008 and the

plant was handed over to the client after successful trial
run in September 2008.
The design of the ECOFLUID fluidized bed
combustion was confirmed during start up and the
following commercial operation by the achieved
operation data. All emission values could be kept,
however the unusual high ammonia content in the fuel
Figure 2: Cross section of the boiler in Moerdijk
caused occasional problems due to sometimes high
ammonia emissions in the flue gas. In general very low
The fuel is delivered by truck to the site and dumped
NOx levels could be recorded, that even at normal stable
into unloading pitches, were a double crane system takes
operation an operation of the SCR was not necessary.
over. This fully automatic storage system distributes and
The fuel quality delivered so far was on the lower end
mixes the fuel within the fuel bunker to ensure constant
of the heating value range, and even below the designed
fuel properties for the boiler.
boiler operation range. However, the boiler could be
The crane fills the fuel into two walking floors
operated even at these difficult conditions with minor
wherefrom the fuel is transported by a redundant belt
problems. To account for the very low heating value of
conveyor to the boiler house. There the fuel can be
the fuel another secondary air combustion level was
distributed between the two fuel lines, which consist of
additionally installed to compensate for the higher water
an intermediate bin with a rotary screw extraction. From
evaporation rate in the bed.
this bin the fuel is distributed to the two dosing bins in
The high ash loads, with highly hydroscopic
front of the boiler by means of screws. The metering to
properties caused at the beginning of the plant operation
the boiler of the fuel mixture is carried out by speed
some problems conveying the ash in with the blow pots,
controlled double-screws, which drop the fuel into the
which could be however satisfactorily solved until now.
four feeding chutes. The fuel is distributed into the bed
Finally, it can be stated that this power plant is a big
step forward in the green energy production from chicken

Figure 3: Biomass Power Plant Moerdijk

Based on these results it can be seen that the
ECOFLUID technology is capable to combust a broad
range of different biogenic fuels. The range includes
conventional fuels like wood, wood chips or bark but
also fuels like chicken litter or bio sludge.
Furthermore, it is possible to keep the strict emission
limits of the Waste Incineration Directive at the same
This is a major contribution to enhance green power
production on an environmentally friendly basis.


[1] Tschanun, I., Holarek, M., Gartnar, F., Glatzer, A.

(2001): Westfield, Fife/Scotland becomes Worlds
first to burn Poultry Litter in FBC, Proc. of the Power
Gen Europe 2001, 29-31.Maqy 2001, Brussels,
[2] Bolhr-Nordenkampf, M., Gartnar, F., Tschanun, I.,
Kaiser, S. (2005): Operating Experiences from FBC-
Plants using Various Biomass Fuels, Proc. of the 14th
Bioenergy Conference, 17-21 Oktober 2005, Paris,
[3] Tschanun, I., Mineur, M., (2003): Biomass
Combustion with State of the Art Bubbling Bed
Steam Generators, Proc. of the Power Gen Europe
2003, 6-8 May 2003, Dsseldorf, Germany.
[4] Tschanun, I., Franz, P., Gartnar, F. (1998):
Klrschlammverbrennung bei der Vera GmbH
Hamburg mit dem Wirbelschichtverfahren der
Austrian Energy, Proc. of the 1st Berliner
Klrschlammtagung Integrierte
Klrschlammentsorgung, 25 27 May 1998, Berlin,

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