In the present work the efficiency of the fluidized bed combustion of high-volatile fuels and the extent of volatile matter post-combustion in the splashing zone and freeboard are investigated. A typical Mediterranean biomass (pine-seed shells) has been burned in a pilot-scale bubbling FB combustor (200kWt) at different operating conditions. Both over- and under-bed fuel feeding options have been considered. A FBC model specifically developed for high-volatiles fuels has been also applied to provide a comparison with bed carbon loading, in-bed heat release and splashing region temperature experimental data. Experimental results showed that the biomass combustion efficiency is always very high as a consequence of the high reactivity of the fuel. Extensive volatiles post-combustion above the bed is observed, whose extent appears to be sensitive to the over/under bed feeding option and to the excess air. Approximately 80% of the total heat is released/recirculated in the bed, the remainder leading to appreciable overheating of the freeboard with respect to the nominal bed temperature. Very low bed carbon loadings have been found. Model results compare well with the experimental temperature, heat release and carbon loading trends. However, detailed prediction of the freeboard temperature profiles requires further improvements of the model.

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