Boilers firing low-rank coal generally experience high levels of slagging and fouling. To help manage convective pass fouling, various additives or conditioners can be injected into the boiler furnace high temperature region as physical disruptors of slag deposits, exhibiting a varying density or gas evolution, which physically breaks up slag or as chemical modifiers of the ash to increase its softening temperature. Vermiculite is one additive that has been applied with success; however, it is important to ensure that the injected material is placed in the most heavily slagged and fouled areas. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a vermiculite injection system installed on a large cyclone-fired boiler and to identify improvements in the injection system that would permit more effective treatment of the areas of interest. During the study, a million-cell full boiler combustion model was developed. Typical features of the furnace flow and temperature field were obtained. Considering the particular operating conditions and features of the upper furnace flow field (biased gas velocities and rotational flow), optimized injection schemes were proposed. This study shows the usefulness of applying CFD to solve slagging and fouling issues for coal-fired boilers.

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