Evaluation of a 1000 MW Commercial Ultra Super-Critical Coal Boiler

PI Martin Berzins, University of Utah
Large eddy simulation prediction of instantaneous O2 mass fraction in a hypothetical commercial scale 1000 MW, Ultra Super-Critical (USC) coal boiler

Pulverized coal power plants in the United States currently account for 39 percent of the power on the grid. While environmental concerns over coal utilization are driving the industry to pursue change as quickly as possible, advances in clean-coal technologies are slow moving, requiring technological breakthroughs and full-scale demonstrations to inspire the accelerated adoption of new technologies across the coal industry. This INCITE initiative proposes to simulate and evaluate the design of cleaner, next-generation 1,000 megawatt (MW) Ultra Super-Critical (USC) coal boilers.

The model for the study is an Alstom’s “twin-fireball” furnace, which is stoked when coal and air are injected from a main windbox, and over-fire air (OFA) is injected above it. The project aim is to run four large-eddy simulation (LES) test cases with different OFA configurations to validate and further improve the boiler design. The studies rely on LES-based codes in the Uintah open-source framework, which is comprised of computational components that simulate turbulent combustion and address fluid-structure interaction problems.

Preliminary indications suggest that these first-of-their-kind LES computations can provide greater accuracy in predicting temperature and velocity profiles in furnaces than steady-state computational fluid dynamics computations. In addition, design studies and benchmark solutions from this project will indicate the strengths and weaknesses of this approach with respect to research on present and future boilers, as well as on computer and computational science research.