Advances towards a pressurised rotating fluidised bed combustor
Rotating fluidised Beds offer the potential for high intensity combustion, large turndown and extended range of fluidising velocity due to the imposition of an artificial gravitational field. Low thermal capacity should also allow rapid response to load changes. This thesis describes investigations of the validity of these potential virtues. Experiments, at atmospheric pressure, were conducted in flow visualisation rigs and a combustor designed to accommodate a distributor 200mm diameter and 80mm axial length. Ancillary experiments were conducted in a 6" diameter conventional fluidised bed. The investigations encompassed assessment of; fluidisation and elutriation, coal feed requirements, start-up and steady-state combustion using premixed propane and air, transition from propane to coal combustion and mechanical design. Assessments were made of an elutriation model and some effects of particle size on the combustion of premixed fuel gas and air. The findings were: a) more reliable start-up and control methods must be developed. Combustion of premixed propane and air led to severe mechanical and operating problems. Manual control of coal combustion was inadequate. b) Design criteria must encompass pressure loss, mechanical strength and high temperature resistance. The flow characteristics of ancillaries and the distributor must be matcheo. c) Fluidisation of a range of particle sizes was investigated. New correlations for minimum fluidisation and fully supported velocities are proposed. Some effects on elutriation of particle size and the distance between the bed surface and exhaust port have been identified. A conic distributor did not aid initial bed distribution. Furthermore, airflow instability was encountered with this distributor shape. Future use of conic distributors is not recommended. Axial solids mixing was found to be poor. A coal feeder was developed which produced uniform fuel distribution throughout the bed. The report concludes that small scale inhibits development of mechanical design and exploration of performance. future research requires larger combustors and automatic control.