One important aspect of refuse mass-burn combustion control is the manipulation of combustion air. Proper air manipulation is key to the achievement of good combustion efficiency and reduction of pollutant emissions. Experiments, using a small fix-grate laboratory furnace with cylindrical combustion chamber, were performed to investigate the influence of undergrate/sidewall air distribution on the combustion of beds of wood cubes. Wood cubes were used as a convenient laboratory surrogate of solid refuse. Specifically, for different bed configurations (e.g., bed height, bed voidage, bed fuel size, etc.), burning rates and combustion temperatures at different bed locations were measured under various air supply and distribution conditions. One of the significant results of the experimental investigation is that combustion, with air injected from side walls and no undergrate air, has the maximum combustion efficiency. On the other hand, combustion with undergrate air achieves higher combustion rates but with higher CO emissions. A simple one-dimensional model was constructed to derive correlation of combustion rate as a function of flue gas temperature and oxygen concentration. Despite the fact that the model is one-dimensional and many detailed chemical and physical processes of combustion are not considered, comparisons of the model predictions and the experimental results indicate that the model is appropriate for quantitative evaluation of bed-burning rates.

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