Abstract

Natural gas furnaces are widely used in US residential and commercial building markets. An important issue for natural gas furnaces is serious corrosion and fouling problems caused by acidic gas, such as SOx. An advanced adsorption technology based on acidic gas trap (AGT) absorbers offers the possibility to remove SOx acidic gas from natural gas furnaces with high efficiency and low cost, thereby enabling the development of condensing furnaces without the use of expensive corrosion resistant materials in the heat exchanger. A three-dimensional (3D) computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model has been developed to evaluate the heat transfer performance of a furnace with AGT absorbers and to compare it with a baseline conventional furnace without the AGT. Moreover, an axisymmetric model has been built focusing on the absorbing process in the AGT. The baseline conventional furnace used for the study is a commercial condensing furnace (Rheem 92% AFUE 84,000 BTU Multi-Position Gas Furnace). This furnace was completely disassembled, and the dimensions of each part were carefully measured and used to build a detailed CFD model. A model representing the new furnace, incorporating the AGT absorbers, was developed by adding the AGT system to the conventional furnace model. For the CFD analysis, a mixture model was employed to characterize the heat and mass transfer during the condensing process in the furnace while considering three components — air, water vapor and liquid water. Condensation takes place in the condensing heat exchanger, where water vapor changes phase to liquid water, and the latent heat is thus used in the furnace for useful heating. The simulation results characterize the energy performance of both the conventional furnace and the novel furnace with AGT absorbers, as well as the reactive processing in the AGT. These results provide insightful guidance for the development of the AGT absorber-based furnace from the perspective of its energy performance and will be used to further optimize this novel furnace design.

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