Integrated study of flue gas flow and superheating process in a recovery boiler using computational fluid dynamics and 1D-process modeling, TAPPI Journal June 2020

Application: The present integrated modeling approach is advantageous for troubleshooting, optimizing the performance of superheaters, and selecting their design margins for the future. It could also be relevant for other large-scale energy production units, such as biomass-fired boilers. 

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Author: Kunal Kumar, Viljami Maakala, and Ville Vuorinen
Integrated study of flue gas flow and superheating process i
ABSTRACT: Superheaters are the last heat exchangers on the steam side in recovery boilers. They are typically made of expensive materials due to the high steam temperature and risks associated with ash-induced corrosion. Therefore, detailed knowledge about the steam properties and material temperature distribution is essential for improving the energy efficiency, cost efficiency, and safety of recovery boilers. In this work, for the first time, a comprehensive one-dimensional (1D) process model (1D-PM) for a superheated steam cycle is developed and linked with a full-scale three-dimensional (3D) computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model of the superheater region flue gas flow. The results indicate that: (1) the geometries of headers and superheater platens affect platen-wise steam mass flow rate distribution (3%•7%); and (2) the CFD solution of the 3D flue gas flow field and platen heat flux distribution coupled with the 1D-PM affect the platen-wise steam superheating temperature (45%•122%) and material temperature distribution (1%•6%). Moreover, it is also found that the commonly-used uniform heat flux distribution approach for the superheating process is not accurate, as it does not consider the effect of flue gas flow field in the superheater region. These new observations clearly demonstrate the value of the present integrated CFD/1D-PM modeling approach.

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