Liquid fuels such as bitumen, tars, and pitches are byproducts of heavy oil upgrading processes, and are usually contaminated with high sulphur and sometimes heavy metals contents as well. Fluidized bed combustion (FBC) appears to be a promising technology for the combustion of such fuels due to its inherent fuel flexibility and low emissions characteristics. The combustion of three liquid fuels, i.e., no. 6 oil, bitumen and pitch was investigated in a pilot-scale bubbling FBC unit. An efficient liquid fuel feeding system was developed and a bubbling FBC was successfully used to combust all three liquid fuels. The proportion of fuel escaping in the form of unburnt hydrocarbons in the flue gas was less than 0.4 percent and combustion efficiencies higher than 98.5 percent were achieved. However, combustion of liquid fuels tended to occur in the freeboard and, therefore, good mixing of the fuels in the bed was critical in achieving satisfactory combustion performance.

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