Traditional methods for reducing emissions, by modification of the firing system to control the mixing of fuel and air, the reduction of flame temperatures (for NOx emission reduction), and/or the post combustion treatment of the flue gas to remove NOx, SO2 particulates are very expensive. Hence, before implementation of expensive measures for the reduction of emissions, it is necessary to evaluate all low cost alternatives, such as burning alternative fuels and mixing it with other liquid fuels. Methanol offers these advantages, being a derivative of natural gas which is partly de-linked from oil, and is a clean burning fuel.
Existing experience [1, 2] has shown that with inexpensive and minimal system modifications, methanol is easily fired and is fully feasible as an alternative fuel. Relative to heavy fuel and light fuel, methanol can achieve improved efficiency and lower NOx emissions due to the lower flame temperature and nitrogen content. Since methanol contains no sulfur, there are no SO2 emissions. The clean burning characteristics of methanol are expected to lead to clean pressure parts and lower maintenance costs.
In this paper we present results for the specific 10 ton/hr industrial boiler (results of the burning of methanol in large utility boilers we presented in our earlier publications) located at DOR Chemicals.
In this study we experimented with methanol fractions (from 0 to 100 % by heat) at different boiler loads and found that the methanol and heavy fuel oil mixtures enabled us to meet the commonly accepted emissions limit for NOx with zero CO emissions. SO2 emissions were also reduced according to methanol heat fraction. Methanol burning leads to a more than 10 % reduction of CO2.
It should be noted that in our tests we used a special patented mixing device (the “Fuel Activation Device – FAD) developed by Turbulent Energy Inc. for preparing premixed or in-line blends. The results show that more than 50% of NOx reduction is achieved when light fuel oil is replaced by methanol and more than an 80% reduction when heavy fuel oil is replaced by methanol. For all boiler operation modes 100% of combustion efficiency is achieved. Methanol and liquid fuel blends lead to significant reduction of emissions depending on the methanol heat fraction. Burning of a blend of liquid fuel with water leads to a significant reduction of NOx. In addition, the usage of the FAD in our tests had positive effects on boiler efficiency improvement both for LFO and methanol firing.
In this paper we also present the study of methanol and diesel fuel burning in diesel engine. It should be noted that blends were prepared by a using special mixing device developed by Turbulent Energy Inc. The performance of the engine using blended fuel compared to the performance of the engine with diesel fuel.
It was also found that with using the blend one may achieve a more than 75 % reduction of NOx emissions when diesel oil is replaced by 20% methanol. Methanol and diesel oil co-firing leads to a reduction of SO2 emissions depending on the heat fraction of methanol.
We believe that the conclusions of the work presented are general and can be applied to any other industrial, utility boiler, or diesel engine as well.