This study was performed to demonstrate the technical viability of cofiring animal-tissue biomass (ATB) in a coal-fired fluidized-bed combustor (FBC) as an option for disposing of specified risk materials (SRMs) and carcasses. This is a potential option for beneficially utilizing SRMs and carcasses that must be removed from the food chain, allowing them to be used as an energy feedstock rather than disposing them via landfilling or incineration. The purpose of this study was to assess the technical issues of feeding/combusting ATB and not to investigate prion deactivation/pathogen destruction. Overall, the project successfully demonstrated that carcasses and SRMs can be cofired with coal in a bubbling FBC. Feeding ATB into the FBC did, however, present several challenges. Specifically, handling/feeding issues resulting from the small scale of the equipment and the extremely heterogeneous nature of the ATB were encountered during the testing. Feeder modifications and an overbed firing system were necessary. Through statistical analysis, it was shown that the ATB feed location had a greater effect on CO emissions, which were used as an indication of combustion performance, than the fuel type due to the feeding difficulties. Baseline coal tests and tests cofiring ATB into the bed were statistically indistinguishable. Fuel feeding issues would not be expected at the full scale since full-scale units routinely handle low-quality fuels. In a full-scale unit, the disproportionate ratio of feed line size to unit diameter would be eliminated thereby eliminating feed slugging. Also, the ATB would either be injected into the bed, thereby ensuring uniform mixing and complete combustion, or be injected directly above the bed with overfire air ports used to ensure complete combustion. Therefore, it is anticipated that a demonstration at the full scale, which is the next activity in demonstrating this concept, should be successful. As the statistical analysis shows, emissions cofiring ATB with coal would be expected to be similar to that when firing coal only.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Fuel Technology
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology