3D CFD Simulation of Combustion in Furnaces Using Mixture Gases with Variable Composition
Morales, Sergio A.
Barragan, Daniel R.
Kafarov, Viatcheslav
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Morales S.A., Barragan D.R., Kafarov V., 2018, 3D CFD Simulation of Combustion in Furnaces Using Mixture Gases with Variable Composition , Chemical Engineering Transactions, 70, 121-126.
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In the petroleum refining industry, furnaces are key equipment because they provide the necessary heat to carry out different processes. These furnaces are designed to use natural gas as fuel, but in most cases they use a mixture of waste gases known as refinery gases (RG), which molar composition varies depending on the process in which they are generated, in most cases with high content of propane, hydrogen, propylene, among others. This is done in most cases to save energy and reduce storage cost. However, this variation in molar composition also produces a change in calorific power that can be as high as 1,200 Btu/ft3, producing alterations in the combustion process, affecting efficiency and increasing pollutant emissions. In this work, the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) technique is used to simulate the combustion process in a representative segment of a typical refinery furnace using RG as fuel with 3 different molar compositions. Comparative CFD 3D simulation cases are performed to study the effect of molar composition variability in the temperature and chemical species profiles inside the furnace. The obtained results show that high contents of gases like propane, propylene or hydrogen increase the calorific power and peak temperature inside the furnace, but temperature profile distribution is less uniform. The chemical species profiles inside the furnace show that there is an increase in CO when using mixture gases with low CH4 content, which indicates that a more detailed study regarding air excess and flow is needed. The results are very important because they can be used as a tool for decision-making regarding the convenience to use or not refinery waste gases as fuels in furnaces and to stablish a starting point for a detailed study about the improvement of furnaces operation and process safety.
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