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Mohammad Hadi Bordbar Timo Hyppänen

Department of Energy and Environmental Technology, P.O.Box 20,

FIN-53851 Lappeenranta University of Technology, Lappeenranta, Finland

Abstract: Radiative heat transfer in the freeboard of large pulverized fuel utility
boilers was analyzed by applying one of the most accurate radiation models, the zone
method of analysis, to the prediction of incident radiative heat fluxes on the furnace
walls. Modeling the cooling water tubes in the freeboard was quite challenging and
using this method for unstructured mesh was leading to computationally demanding
calculations. By using this model, the behavior of temperature and heat flux within
the furnace and on the heat surfaces has been investigated. The velocity field of the
combusted fuel from burner has been modeled by using the existing formula for the
velocity field of turbulent jet exit from the burner orifice. The accuracy of the
method was tested by comparing its predictions with experimental measured
radiative fluxes on the walls. The final aim of the study was to find the needed
changes in boiler’s burners and load in order to change fuel quality from Mazut to
Methane without any damages in heat surfaces. By comparing the results of our
simulation for methane-state with experimental results for Mazut state, we found that
for preventing any damage in heat surfaces due to aforementioned fuel changes, the
load of the boilers should be decreased by 12%. By this fuel changing, the efficiency
of the boiler will increase and the boiler will work with a cleaner fuel.

Keywords: Boiler modeling, Zone method, Fuel changing, Green Energy.

1 INTRODUCTION experimental modeling leads researchers to develop

numerical models for analyzing these enclosures. The
In recent years, many researches have been done in most usual numerical methods for analyzing the
the field of the performance optimization of large radiative spaces are Monte-Carlo method, heat flux
power plant boilers. The main aims have been at method and zone method. Indeed, by using these
extending the boiler’s lifetime, increasing the thermal methods the radiative heat transfer in an absorbing,
efficiency and reducing the pollutant emissions in the emitting, scattering medium can be analysed.
boilers. A good design of the furnace, as the most In this article, the zone method has been employed
important part in energy conversion process in the for predicting temperature and heat flux on the water
boilers, has a key role in achieving aforementioned walls of steam boiler’s furnace. Hottel and Cohen
targets. A Furnace is the space that the fuel can burn have created this model first time in 1935 for
over there and the chemical energy is converted into analyzing the radiation heat transfer in an enclosure
heat to be transferred into the water walls of steam containing gray gas with certain properties. Later,
boilers. The temperatures in the pulverized fuel Hottel and Sarofim in 1967 used this method for
furnaces are high enough that the radiation becomes more complex geometries. Since that time, this
the most important mechanism in heat transfer. Due model has been widely used by researchers for
to complexity of radiation mechanism and its modeling the industrial radiative enclosures such as
dependence to enclosure’s geometry, the analytical boiler’s furnaces (Diez et al. 2004; Batu and Selcuk
solution does not exist except for very simple 2001).
problems. This fact along with expensive
In this research, zone method was employed for 2 RADIATIVE HEAT TRANSFER BETWEEN
predicting heat flux on the side walls of enclosures LARGE ZONES
and temperature distribution within the furnace. In
this method, whole space of the furnace is split into The heat transfer between a pair of zones depends on
zones and the enclosure’s walls are divided into some coefficients that are called heat flux area. For
finite surface parts (zones). The main assumption is example, the amount of heat transfer between a
using an existing uniform temperature and properties volume zone (i) and surface zone (j) will be:
within the volume and surface zones. After dividing → ←
the space and surfaces to finite zones, by using the Qi € j = Gi S j Eg ,i − Gi S j E j (1)
existing flow pattern and combustion model, the rate → ←
Where Gi S j and Gi S j are heat flux area between
of mass transfer from/to each volume zone to/from
other neighboring zones, the amount of combusted volume zone i and surface zone j, Eg , i is black
fuel, and convection coefficient (in the volume zone emissive power of gas and E j is black emissive
that have at least one neighbor surface zone) will be
power of surface. In the same way, we can write
obtained. By writing energy balance equation for all
following equations for radiative heat transfer
surface and volume zones in steady state, we will end
between surface-surface zones and volume-volume
up to nonlinear equations system for temperature
zones, respectively:
field on volume and surface zones. → ←
By solving this nonlinear equations system, we can Qi € j = Si S j Ei − Si S j E j (2)
find temperature distribution, heat flux on heat → ←
surfaces and total value of radiation heat transfer Qi € j = GiG j Eg ,i − GiG j Eg , j (3)
between the zones. Recall that the radiative emissive power of each zone
For pulverized fuel utility boilers, we can assume the
flow of combusted material as a free jet that exit depends to temperature (e.g. Ei = σ T 4 ; where σ is the
from an orifice. By using, experimental formulas that Stephan-Boltzman constant). The directed flux area
describe free jet from orifice we will end up to is calculated from some other coefficient which are
velocity field of gas within the furnace that will be called total exchange area, and this coefficient also
used for driving energy balance equations for zones. can be calculated from other coefficient has been
The updating existing furnace in the way that they called directed exchange area. In table 1 the symbols
can work with more efficient and cleaner fuel is very that are used for representing this kind of coefficient,
important for industry. The furnace that is modeled and the parameter that has effect on these coefficients
with zone method was originally fired with Mazut as has been shown.
the fuel. This fuel produced high level of pollutions,
so the final target of this research was to find a good Table 1 The important coefficients in
approximation for changing the boiler performance radiation calculation in zone method.
in a way that the furnace can work with methane as a Name of Symbol Effective parameters
main fuel without any damages in heat surfaces. Coefficient
The result of this research will be useful for Directed si s j , gi s j , Enclosure’s geometry,
investigating the heat transfer of boilers when fuel Exchange Absorption coefficient
properties are changed. The validity of this model has Area gi g j , of gray gas
been addressed by comparing the result of simulation
for Mazut with experimental data that are reported by Total Si S j , Gi S j , Enclosure’s geometry,
manufacturing company. By using this valid model Exchange Absorption coefficient
for new fuel, the amount of heat flux and temperature Area GiG j of gray gas,surface
on the furnace’s walls has been investigated. This emissivity coefficient
result will be useful for designing the new operation Directed → → Enclosure’s geometry,
range of a boiler, burners and the whole power plant. Flux Area Si S j , Gi S j , Absorption coefficient
In section 2, calculation of radiative heat transfer → of gray gas,surface
between zones by zone method will be explained. A GiG j
emissivity coefficient,
new method for calculating direct exchange area Temperature of
between zones - that have main role in amount of redatiobn source
radiation between the zones - will be explained in
this section. The experimental formulas that were The directed exchange area coefficients can be
used for investigating flow pattern and their result calculated according to following expressions:
will be reported in section 3. In section 4, the energy cosθi cos θ j exp(− krij )
balance equation for volume and surface zone will be si s j = ∫ ∫ dAi dA j (4)
explained. In section 5, the simplified model that was A A π rij2
i j
used for simulating our boiler’s furnace will be
k cos θ j exp(-krij )
interpreted. In section 6, the result of our model will gi s j = ∫ ∫ dVi dA j (5)
be explained. The conclusions and remark points of A V π rij2
j i
this research will be presented in the last section.
k 2 exp(-krij ) gray gases. In this method, the following expression
gi g j = ∫ ∫ dV j dAi (6) is considered for emissive coefficient of real gas:
VV π rij2 n

i j
εg = g ,i (1 − exp(ki PL ) (8)
In these equations, rij is the size of the vector that
i =0
connects center of two elements to each Where k , P and L represents the emissivity, partial
other, θ i and θ j are the angle between the normal
pressure and effective path length of the gray gases,
vector of surface elements and aforementioned respectively. Term i = 0 is related to limpid gas. By
vector, and k is emissivity coefficient of gas. The using the method that described in (Viskanta and
order of these integrals is so high that analytical Mengae 1987) and by considering the water vapor
solutions for them are not possible except of some and CO2 and a limpid gas as the main products of
simple states, so for calculating them we employed combustion the coefficients of ag ,i has been
some mathematical technique we decrease the order
of integrals in a way that they can be calculated by calculated for several states of partial pressures.
numerical method. For example for surface-surface These coefficients employed for calculating directed
zones and for parallel zones, if we assume the (0, 0, flux area from total exchange area by the following
0) and (a, b, c) as the coordinates of two point of expression, for surface-surface zones:
these zones, we can change the equation 4 to the → N
Si S j = ∑ a s,n (Ti ) SiS j 
expression:  k = k
n =1 n
c2 (9)

( si s j ) 1 1

π ∫ ∫ 0
dx dy × (1 − x)(1 − y ) 
0 
f ( ± x, ± y ) 

← N
Si S j = ∑ a s,n (Tj ) SiS j 
− k g B rij (7)  k = k
12 n =1
and rij =  ( x + a ) + ( y + b)2 + c 2 
e 2 n
where f ( x, y ) = ,
rij4   For surface-Volume zones:
and ∑ f ( ± x, ± y ) = f ( x, y ) + f ( − x, y ) + f ( x, − y ) + f ( − x, − y ) → N
Gi S j = ∑ a g,n (Tg,i )  G iS j 
  k=k
In this equation B represents characteristic length of n =1 n
gray gas. Therefore by using this technique, the order ← N
Gi S j = ∑ a s,n (T j )  G iS j 
of integral will decrease and the numerical  k=k
n =1 n
calculations will be much easier and more accurate.
This technique has also been used for other state of For volume-volume zones:
→ N
GiG j = ∑ a g,n (Tg,i ) G iG j 
surface-surface zones and surface-volume and (11)
volume-volume zones. During calculation of directed  k = k
n =1 n
exchange area for some elements we will be exposed
to singularity points for solving this kind of problem 3 VELOCITY FIELD WITHIN THE
we separate the integrals into two separate parts, the FURNACE
first part consist of singular points which has been
solved by analytical techniques and second one was For calculating the convective heat transfer term in
an integral without singular points which was solved energy balances in surface zone we need to have
by numerical method. Between several formulations velocity field within the furnace. In this order, we
of Simpson method for calculating integrals calculated velocity field within the furnace by some
numerically, the Simpson 1/3 has been chosen experimental formula. Almost all industrial flames
because of its simplicity and generality. For verifying are in the form of turbulent jet that exit from burner’s
validity of directed exchange area values, we used orifice. By defining an equivalence diameter for non-
the analytically calculated value that was reported for isothermal condition, velocity distribution and inlet
a simple case (Hotel and Sarofim, 1967). By using mass from around to jet can be calculated from
the aforementioned methods and techniques the following equations (Beer, 1972):
values of directed exchange area has been calculated
numerically for different possible states (singularity), d e = do (Ts To )1 2
the calculated values showed very good conformity U 6.4
= exp( −82( y x ) 2 )
with aforementioned reference values. U o ( x de )
After calculating directed exchange area, the total (14)
exchange area can be calculated from these values by m& e m& o = 0.32 ( x d e )
using the method that Hotel and Cohen reported in Where d e is equivalence diameter , x, y is position of
1935. We know that that the main products of
calculated point related to center of orifice , do is
combustion ( H 2O, CO2 )are not gray gases and by
orifice diameter Ts is temperature of calculated
using gray gas assumption for them the large amount
of error will enter to our calculation, but the exponent point, To is inlet temperature, U is axial velocity in
form of gray gas emission behavior can be good form calculated point, U o is axial velocity in orifice, m& o is
for modeling real gas(combustion product). inlet mass and m& e is the mass that enter to jet region
Therefore, a famous method for modeling the from neighbor regions.
radiation behavior of real gas is weight summation of
4 ENERGY BALANCE EQUATIONS IN Q& g ,net + Q& a + Q& g + Q& conv . + Q& rad . = 0 (19)
The first term on the left hand side is net heat
For every surface zone (s), energy conservation generated from combustion can be calculated from
equation can be written as: Q& g ,net = V& × C (20)
g v , net
As + C s + Qs = Fs (16)
Where V&g the volume rate of inlet fuel to this volume
As : The amount of energy that is absorbed by zone and Cv , net is net heat of combustion for fuel.
surface zone (s) from the energy which is emitted
from all zones (even itself). Q& a in eq.18 is the energy of combustion air at inlet
Cs : The convective energy that is transferred from/to temperature and Q& g is the rate of decrease in sensible
surface zone (s) to/from neighbor volume zones.
enthalpy of gas flowing through the zone. These two
Qs : The amount of energy that exits from furnace to
parameters can be calculated from:
load by this surface zone (s).

  
 ρ a H a (Ta )
Fs : The amount of energy emitted from surface Q& a = V&G  Rs  1 + (21)
zone(s).   100  
By using the theory that was explained in section 1,
 X 
this energy balance can be rewrite in better shape: Q& g = V&G  Rs + Rs  ρ g H g (T g ) (22)
m ← L →  100 
∑ S S σ T + ∑G S σ T
j =1
i j
j =1
j i
g, j − Aiε iσ Ti4 + Ai qi,conv. = Q& i In these equations, we have:
Rs : Volume rate of air to fuel in stoichiometric
Where m and L represents number of surface zones condition
and number of volume zones, respectively. The first ρ a : Density of inlet air
term on the left hand side of this equation is
ρ g : Density of combustion product
summation of all radiation that reached to this
surface zone from all surface zones in enclosure. The H a : Enthalpy of the air
second term on the left hand side represents
summation of all radiation that reached to this H g : Enthalpy of the fuel
surface zone from all volume zones in the enclosure. x : Additional air (%)
The third term represents the radiation emits from For radiative energy term in volume zone balance,
this surface zone. The fourth term is the amount of we can write:
convective energy from neighbor volume zone. The l ← m ← N
Q& rad = ∑ Gi G j σ Tg , j + ∑ Gi S j σ T j − 4 ∑ an k g ,nVi σ Tg ,i
4 4
right hand side represents the amount of heat transfer
j =1 j =1 n =1
to load (water walls) from this surface zone. This
value can be approximated by having the condition (23)
of water in entering and exiting the boiler and By substituting equations (20-23) into eq.19, we will
dividing the whole enthalpy changes between surface have:
l ← m ← N
zones, expect the burner’s surface zones, equally. For
a furnace with m surface zones, we will have m ∑ Gi G jσ Tg , j + ∑ Gi S j σ T j4 − 4∑ an k g ,nViσ Tg4,i −
j =1 j =1 n =1
energy balance in this shape.
For volume zones, we should also write energy ( Q& conv. ) + ( Q& g ,net )i + ( Q& a )i + ( Q& g )i =0 (24)
Where Q& conv. represents the convective heat transfer to
Av + Bv + Cv + Dv − Ev = Fv (18)
Av : The total radiative energy that is absorbed in
all surface zone that are in neighbor of this volume
volume v from all the energy that emitted from all Same as surface zone we can write one energy
zones in the system. balance for every volume zones. By solving these
Bv : The heat energy of the gas that is entered to this nonlinear equations together, we will reach to final
volume zone. solution for temperature in all surface and volume
Cv : The amount of energy that is transferred to/from zones.
neighbor surface zone by convection mechanism. 5 INTRODUCING THE MODEL
Dv : The energy generated in this volume zone by the
combustion mechanism. The boiler that is modeled in this research is made by
Ev : The heat energy of the gas that is exited from
CE Company. This kind of boiler has natural
circulation for water and the furnace dimensions are
this volume zone.
Fv : The total energy that is emitted from volume 22.4 ft × 33.6 ft × 67.2 ft .The side walls of the furnace is
made of the stainless steel tubes with 2.5in diameter.
zone v.
These tubes connect to each other by the plates with
This equation can be explained in other shape:
0.5in thickness and the center to center distance of
the tube is 3in . All the walls are made by this kind of amount of mass transfer between the volume zones
tubes and just there are no any tubes in the part of which is necessary for completing the energy balance
boiler that gas exits. This complex shape of walls has in surface and volume zones (Eq.17 and Eq.24), is
been replaced by an equivalent surface with calculated. According to the pattern in Fig. 2, the
emissivity of 0.85 . The method was explained by portion of convective term in whole heat transfer
Hottel and Cohen in 1935 is used for calculating the process is maximum in the chimney of the furnace
amount of the equivalent surfaces. This boiler has 16 relative to other parts.
burners that are placed in two stages with different
height in the front (8 burners) and rear (8 burners)
walls of the boiler. Figure 1 shows a simplified
model of this furnace that we used for our simulation.
As illustrated in figure 1, by using asymmetric
property of this furnace, we should just simulate a
half of surfaces and volume.

Fig. 2. Velocity contours within the furnace.

Figures 3 shows the radiative heat flux distribution in

the front and side walls of furnace. The minimum
value of radiative heat flux has been observed in the
corners of the walls and also near the exit part and
the maximum values has been observed in central
regions. This kind of behavior is in conformity with
related calculated value for directed heat flux area. It
means that in the central region where the directed
heat flux area is high, the amount of radiative heat
transfer is maximum.

Fig. 1. An illustration of our simplified model of the

furnace ,The names that we used to address different
parts of furnace with the volume and surface zones,
position of the burners in front and rear walls.

Recall that in both state of fuels (Methane and

Mazut) the length of the flame is shorter that the
length of the zone, therefore considering the constant
temperature for the volume zones that are exactly in
front of the burners will be acceptable assumption.
The amount of inlet mass flow rate in burners was
obtained by maintaining the overall heat value of
fuels in both states equal. Therefore, by using the
specific heat values for Mazut and Methane and
existing inlet mass flow rate for Mazut state, the
amount of equivalent mass flow rate in Methane state
will be obtained.


Fig.3. (a) Radiative heat flux distribution on the front
The flow pattern and velocity field of the gas within wall of furnace ( Btu ft 2 hr ). (b) Radiative heat flux
the furnace were calculated by using the equations
distribution on the side wall of the furnace
that are explained in section 3. The velocity contours
of the gas in one cross section area of the furnace are ( Btu ft 2 hr ).
illustrated in figure 2. By using these results, the
The minimum value for directed flux area has been mesh structure will not be able to explain adequately
calculated for the regions which are in the corners of the details of the heat transfer phenomena within the
the furnace and it caused that the amount of radiative furnace.
heat flux in these regions was less than in other In this article, the capability of zone method for
regions of the walls. It makes sense because these analysing the heat transfer within an industrial
central regions have better position for taking the furnace is shown. Solving the flow field within the
radiation ray from other surfaces and gas. furnace is necessary for calculating the convective
heat transfer term in energy balance equations. Using
the CFD method for solving the velocity field needs a
suitable turbulence model and very fine mesh which
will increase the calculation time. Furthermore,
matching the large zones that are used in zone
method with this very fine mesh that are used for
CFD calculation will be complex. Due to these
reasons, in this study we used some empirical
equations for calculating the velocity field. An
alternative approach in the further studies is to use
finer mesh for CFD calculations and apply radiation
energy transfer profile of zone method in source
terms of CFD energy equations.
The result of simulation has a good conformity with
existing experimental data. These results are very
Fig.4.Temperature distribution in volume zones; (a):
useful for estimating the needed changes in the
j=1 the first row of volume zones near the sidewall.
burners and the operating conditions of the boiler
(b): j=2 the second row of volume zones.
when changing the fuel.
By comparing the results of our simulation with
Figure 4 shows the temperature distribution in the
existing data, we found that the temperature of
volume zones in two rows of volume zones, near the combustion product in the Methane state is higher
side wall and in the central region (j=1, 2 in fig.1).
than Mazut state by 200-300 Rankine.
The temperature behaviors in both rows are almost
Due to higher temperature in Methane state, for
similar and in the most regions, the temperature is
preventing any damage in heat surfaces due to
uniform. It means that the temperature in the gas is
aforementioned fuel changes, we need to decrease
quite high and it decreases near the chimney because
total entered fuel value. It means that the load of the
of its effect.
boilers should be decreased by 12%. By this fuel
Comparison between the calculated data from our
change, the efficiency of the boiler will increase and
simulation for methane state with experimental
the boiler will work with a cleaner fuel.
measured data which reported by manufacturer
company, give us very useful information for REFERENCES
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