Experimental analysis and model development of pyrolysis/combustion of coal/biomass in a bench scale spouted bed reactor

Period of Performance: 03/03/2016 - 11/16/2016


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Precision Combustion, Inc.
410 Sackett Point Road Array
North Haven, CT 06473
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

University of Connecticut
Office for Sponsored Programs 438 Whitney Rd. Ext., U-1133
Storrs, CT 06269
Institution POC


There is widespread concern regarding carbon emissions from fossil fuels, resulting in a drive towards improved efficiency in reactor (boiler) performance while reducing carbon emissions. Coal will continue to be a primary source of energy for economic growth for the foreseeable future, thus there is a push to reduce net carbon emissions of coal operated plants by replacing part of the coal with biomass sources. In order to reduce efforts in developing co-fed coal/biomass combustors, a strong design modelling capability must be developed. The overall goal of the proposed research is to develop a robust physics based model of a spouted bed reactor operating with coal/biomass mixtures that can be used to size and develop industrial-scale coal/biomass combustion systems. Development and validation of a physics-based computational model of a spouted bed with design- predictive capability with the use of coal and biomass mixtures will provide a powerful tool to mitigate the challenges associated with co-fired boilers (e.g. fuel segregation leading to poor combustion) and GHG emissions. In order to reduce the production of greenhouse gases, there is a push towards mixing of traditional fossil fuels with carbon neutral biomass sources. This program will accelerate this process of carbon emission reductions by producing a robust, physics-based analytical tool for advanced combustor designs. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The benefit for commercial applications and the public will come from reduced development time and money required to design spouted bed reactors for coal and biomass, easing and speeding the development of a potentially attractive approach to further reduce net emissions from coal plants. The proposal helps in advancing U.S. and DOE missions of energy efficiency, energy independence, and mitigation of climate change.