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A cost-effective reduction of NOx emission from utility boilers firing pulverized coal can be achieved by means of combustion modifications in the furnace. It is also essential to provide the pulverized coal diffusion flame control. Mathematical modeling is regularly used for analysis and optimization of complex turbulent reactive flows and mutually dependent processes in coal combustion furnaces. In the numerical study, predictions were performed by an in-house developed comprehensive three-dimensional differential model of flow, combustion and heat/mass transfer with submodel of the fuel- and thermal-NO formation/destruction reactions. Influence of various operating conditions in the case-study utility boiler tangentially fired furnace, such as distribution of both the fuel and the combustion air over the burners and tiers, fuel-bound nitrogen content and grinding fineness of coal were investigated individually and in combination. Mechanisms of NO formation and depletion were found to be strongly affected by flow, temperature and gas mixture components concentration fields. Proper modifications of combustion process can provide more than 30% of the NOx emission abatement, approaching the corresponding emission limits, with simultaneous control of the flame geometry and position within the furnace. This kind of complex numerical experiments provides conditions for improvements of the power plant furnaces exploitation, with respect to high efficiency, operation flexibility and low emission.
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