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Developments in modelling and simulation of coal gasification (CC/232)

Rohan Fernando

February 2014

In recent years, the considerable increase in the price of crude oil and natural gas and concerns about their security of supply focused attention on whether fuel for power production and feedstocks for the chemical industry could be obtained from the gasification of coal. The need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has enhanced the prospects of power generation from Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) plant. However, the higher capital costs and concerns about reliability and availability of IGCC plant have limited their market penetration. The coal gasifier has been a significant source of operational issues.

A thorough understanding of the processes occurring in a gasifier is essential both for addressing existing causes of gasifier unavailability and improving designs for the future. Many complex processes take place in a gasifier and developing models of gasifiers results in a greater insight into these processes. Computational models in conjunction with plant data can be used to evaluate gasifier operation, solve operational problems, probe new designs and provide performance data for commercial scale-up. This report has surveyed models which are currently available for modelling gasifiers.

The report contains a brief description of the three types of gasifiers which are most commonly used. The models available for each type of gasifier are considered. Insight gained by modelling has advanced the design of gasifiers and can improve gasifier performance. In some cases, the results have been compared with plant data and it has been possible to choose model inputs to give reasonable fit with the measured data. However, there are fewer examples where modelling has directly solved operational problems.