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presented at:

Fifth International Conference on Technologies and Combustion for a Clean Environment (Clean Air V),
Lisbon (Portugal), 12-15 July 1999,
Lecture 21.4 of Session "Application of Porous Media to Combustion Processes II"
and the higher combustion temperature, a significant part
of the heat has to be transferred by radiation from the gas
phase, which makes big gas volumes necessary.
Due to the high combustion temperature, oxy-fuel
burners result in a high primary efficiency also for
processes at high temperatures without the use of
recuperation. From the economic point of view, one has to
take into account the reduced investment costs, the higher
efficiency and compare them to the oxygen production
costs.
To illustrate the raise of the efficiency, if oxygen is used,
the efficiencies for the case of a radiation burner in an
adiabatic furnace were estimated. The energy fluxes of an
adiabatic furnace (adiabatic for losses through the furnace
wall) are shown in Figure 1 and the efficiency of a system
heated by direct combustion may be calculated by
Equation 1.

Development of a Radiation Burner for


Methane and Pure Oxygen
Using the Porous Burner Technology
A. Kesting, O. Pickencker, D. Trimis, F. Durst
Institute of Fluid Mechanics
University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
Cauerstr. 4, D-91058 Erlangen, Germany

ABSTRACT
Major development activities are described which have
been carried out towards an innovative radiation burner
operated with pure oxygen instead of ambient air as
oxidant. The use of oxygen affects the combustion process
in two ways. On the one hand, the efficiency is increased
drastically. On the other hand, however, the resulting
temperatures usually exceed the temperature resistance of
all nowadays known materials. Therefore, the main issue
was to succeed in keeping the temperatures of the
radiation burner below the known material limits
(< 1800C), although pure oxy-fuel combustion was
realized, which normally yields to very high temperatures
(> 2800C). In order to meet this requirement, a new
concept for radiation burners has been developed and is
presented in this work. This novel concept is based on the
combination of the porous burner technology with staged
combustion. The constructive layout is discussed together
with numerical calculations of the temperature field taking
into account reduced chemical kinetics schemes as well as
all heat transport mechanisms relevant for high
temperature combustion processes in a porous medium. A
further application of the same principles and first results
of a very low NOx methane-air porous burner are also
presented.

Furnace
Q

P = m fuel HR

Figure 1:

Q exhaust

Radiation
Burner

Heat balance of an adiabatic furnace with a


radiation burner

Q
=
m fuel H R

P Q exhaust
P

(1)

For the following estimations only radiation is taken into


consideration. The heat transfer by radiation that is
theoretically possible, is given by Equation 2, e. g. from
Verein Deutscher Ingenieure (1997).
A1
(2)
4
4


Q=

T1
T2
A1
A2
1
2

Key words: oxy-fuel combustion, porous medium, staged


combustion, low NOx burner

INTRODUCTION
In industrial process engineering applications, like glass
melting furnaces, surface treatment, metal treatment, etc.
an uniform heating with a fast response is required.
Radiation heating is the best solution for such applications
and many different concepts are used, depending on the
necessary power density and the required temperatures.
In glass melting furnaces for example, conventional
burners are applied, which heat up the burner walls, so
that the major part of the heat is transferred by radiation
from the burner walls to the melt. Since the exhaust gas
temperatures are high, efficiency is low and only
expensive recuperation constructions may improve the
efficiency. Additionally NOx-emissions may be very high
depending on the furnace temperature and residence time
of the gases in the furnace.
Electric radiators are also used for these applications,
especially if compact design, low investment costs,
specific atmosphere composition of the furnace and
emissions are of interest. They have an almost 100%
efficiency in the furnace, but taking into account the
average electricity generation from primary energy
sources, efficiency is reduced to about 40% and emissions
may also be high.
Oxy-fuel burners are increasingly applied in such
applications because of the primary high efficiency without
recuperation (low investment costs) and the reduced NOx
emissions due to the very low nitrogen concentration in the
furnace environment. However, due to the relatively low
flow rates in comparison to conventional air-fuel burners

1
1

A1
A2

1
2

) (T

T2

surface temperature of the burner in K


temperature of the materials in the furnace in K
burner surface in m2
surface of the materials in the furnace in m
emission coefficient of the burner
emission coefficient of the materials in the furnace
Stefan-Boltzmann constant

The transferable amount of heat depends on the surface


ratio of the burner and the furnace, the emission
coefficients, and the surface of the burner. For example, to
enhance the efficiency, an increase of the emission
coefficients is possible as well as an increase of the burner
surface. However, the transferable heat flux mainly
depends on the temperatures of the surface of the furnace,
of the material in the furnace, and the surface temperature
of the radiation burner. By increasing the burner surface
temperature, the transferable heat flux rises. In doing so,
the temperature of the exhaust gases is increased
simultaneously, leading to an unfortunate energy loss to
the environment. State-of-the-art radiation burners for
furnaces optimize their efficiency by preheating the
combustion air with recuperation of the exhaust gas
enthalpy.
The efficiency as a function of the exhaust gas
temperature is shown in Figure 2. For a surface
temperature of 1500C, the combustion chamber
temperature for a radiation burner operated with oxygen
can be estimated to 1700C. The average achievable
efficiency in that ideal case would be about 0.7 to 0.8. If air
is used for the combustion instead, the maximum of the
reachable efficiency without recuperation is not higher than
0.2.
In order to estimate the overall efficiency, the input
energy for the production of oxygen has to be taken into
account. With an energy demand of 0.21 kW/kg oxygen,
1

1,0

radiation burner with oxygen


(excess air ratio 1,0)

0,9

radiation burner with oxygen


(excess air ratio 1,3)

0,8
0,7

radiation burner with air


(exess air ratio 1,0)

max

0,6
0,5

radiation burner with air


(exess air ratio 1,3)

0,4

input for producing of oxygen:


0,21 kWh/kg oxygen

0,3
0,2

radiation burner with oxygen


(excess air ratio 1,0)

0,1
0,0
0

500

1000

1500

radiation burner with oxygen


(excess air ratio 1,3)

2000

temperature difference (Texhaust - Tambient) in K


Efficiency max of a furnace operated with a surface radiant burner for the cases of oxygen and air

the maximum achievable efficiency drops to 0.65-0.75,


which is still considerably higher than the efficiency of
electrical radiation heaters.
Similar advantages may result in other applications like
surface treatment if radiant oxy-fuel burners are applied.
However, up to now no concept exists to realize a solid
surface oxy-fuel radiant burner due to the very high
combustion temperatures and thus up to now only gas
radiation and convection are used to transfer the heat of
oxy-fuel burners.
In the present paper the porous medium combustion
technology is used in combination with staged combustion
in order to realize an oxy-fuel surface radiant burner. The
burner is realized in such a way that not only efficiency,
but also other aspects like furnace atmosphere and
emissions are advantageous.

By calculating the adiabatic combustion temperature, an


estimation of the maximum temperature within the
combustion chamber is possible. Figure 3 shows the
adiabatic temperature rise which appears when the
combustion air is enriched with oxygen. Up to an
enrichment with oxygen of about 50%, the adiabatic
combustion temperature raises significantly from 2230 K to
2930 K (T = 700 K). When the combustion air is enriched
with oxygen from 50% up to 100%, the increase of the
adiabatic combustion temperature is not more than 170 K
due to increased dissociation.
O2 content mixed to combustion air

3700

100 vol. %

3500

Temperature [K]

POROUS BURNER TECHNOLOGY AND OXY-FUEL


COMBUSTION
Porous burner technology
Unlike conventional premixed combustion processes, the
porous burner technology does not operate with free
flames. Rather, the combustion takes place in the threedimensionally arranged cavities of a porous inert medium,
resulting first of all in a totally different appearance of the
flame itself. Compared to conventional combustion
processes with free flames such a reaction process leads
to advantages like high power density, high power
dynamic range, and low emissions, which mostly result
from the very intense heat transport within the porous
structure. The main principles of the porous burner
technology developed at the Institute for Fluid Mechanics
in Erlangen (LSTM-Erlangen) have been already
described (Durst et al., 1993; Trimis and Durst, 1996;
Durst and Trimis, 1997). The applied flame stabilization
concept is based on a sudden change of the pore size.
This corresponds to a change of a modified Pclet number
and thus flame stabilization is performed at the interface of
the porous regions with flame quenching (small pore size)
and flame propagation (large pore size).

50 vol. %

3300

33 vol. %

3100

20 vol. %

10 vol. %

3400
3200

5 vol. %
0 vol. %

3000
2800

2900

2600

2700

2400

2500

2200

2300

2000

2100

1800

1900

1600

1700

1400

1500

1200

1300

1000

1100

Entrance temperature: 25 C

Temperature [ C]

Figure 2:

800

900
0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2.0 2.2 2.4 2.6 2.8 3.0

Air ratio

Figure 3:

Adiabatic combustion temperature in terms of


the excess-oxygen ratio with oxygen
enrichment as parameter

However, the surface temperature and the combustion


chamber temperature of an oxy-fuel radiation burner is
basically dependent on the ratio between the radiating
surface and the volume of the burner. An extrapolation of
known data for air-fuel porous burners was performed for
the case of oxy-fuel combustion. Thermal heat loads of airfuel porous burners are up to 3000 kW/m with a length of
the combustion region up to 50 mm. This yields to thermal
volume loads of up to 60 MW/m. The ratio of the surface
of the porous burner and the volume of the furnace has to

Oxy-fuel combustion in porous media


In oxy-fuel combustion, the combustion temperature is
significantly higher than in the case of air-fuel combustion.
2

AM
dl
4
=
=
d 2l d
V
4

be high enough allowing the amount of heat produced


inside the porous matrix to be transported across the
burner surface. When using pure oxygen instead of
ambient air as oxidant and under the assumption that the
flow velocity remains unchanged, the cross section of the
combustion chamber may be reduced to one third. This
results in thermal surface loads being three times higher
than the loads obtained by combustion with air. With a
high-temperature radiation burner operated with a mixture
of both oxidants, air and pure oxygen, a reduction of the
length of the combustion chamber is expected, due to the
higher flame speed. The laminar flame velocity of a
methane-oxygen mixture is about 14 times higher than the
flame velocities of methane-air mixtures. As a
consequence, the necessary length of the combustion
region is reduced by the factor 1/14. The resulting volume
load of the combustion region therefore increases up to
2500 MW/m.
In order to estimate the radiative heat flux of an oxy-fuel
radiant porous burner, a furnace temperature of 1300C
was supposed. Burner surface temperatures up to a stateof-the-art maximum of 2000C were used for a first
estimation. The heat transfer that is theoretically possible,
is given by Equation 2. The results calculated for typical
emission coefficients and surface ratios are shown in
Figure 4.

(4)

(5)
According to these estimations, detailed calculations for
a high-temperature radiation burner can be performed for
either a tube diameter of approx. 3 mm or for a burner
geometry with rectangular cross section. A flat burner has
to show a plate thickness of 1.5 mm. The relations
between the surface and the volume of a tube and a flat
plate are shown in Figure 5.
3000
tube (x = diameter)
plate (x = thickness h)

As/V [m/m]

2500
2000
1500
1000

1000
500

900

T2 = 1573 K
T1 = 1673 K
T1 = 1773 K
T1 = 1973 K
T1 = 2273 K

800

Q/A [kW/m]

700
600

0
0

10

x [mm]

Figure 5:

500
400

Relation between the surface and the volume


in terms of the diameter of a tube or the
thickness of a plate

300

NUMERICAL STUDY OF OXY-FUEL RADIANT POROUS


BURNER AND MULTI-STAGED COMBUSTION

200
100

With the numerical code FASTEST 3.52, which was


developed at the Institute of Fluid Mechanics in Erlangen
(LSTM-Erlangen) based upon the finite-volume method,
computations of the expected temperature field were
performed. The simulation takes into account the twodimensional mass, momentum, energy, and species
conservation equations and includes all heat and mass
transport phenomena relevant for the combustion in
porous media. The used pseudo-homogeneous approach
is discussed in detail by Brenner et al., 1999. According to
Verein Deutscher Ingenieure, 1997, the relevant
mechanisms of heat transport in bulk materials are in
detail:
=
Heat conduction within the solid material
=
Heat conduction between the contacting surfaces of
two solid particles
=
Heat conduction of the gas phase between the solid
particles
=
Radiation between particle surfaces facing each other
=
Radiation between neighbor voids
=
Energy transport due to mixing of the gas (dispersion)
The heat radiation of gases can be neglected due to the
insignificant emission coefficients of gases in general. The
model treats the porous combustion chamber as a
pseudo-homogeneous system with the effective heat
conductivity being the transport coefficient.
The heat transport described by the Fourier law is
treated exactly like the heat conductivity of a homogenous
body. In doing so, an effective heat conductivity coefficient
is determined in which the three acting heat transfer
mechanisms radiation, conduction, and convection are
summarized. The computations were performed for a tube

0
1

Figure 4:

10

A2/A1 [-] 100

1000

Radiant heat flux as a function of the surface


ratio between burner (A1) and furnace (A2) for
different radiant surface temperatures

The heat flux which can be transferred by radiation is


estimated up to 1000 kW/m. The thermal volume load of
the burner combined with the amount of heat which is
theoretically transferable by radiation, yields to a
necessary ratio of the surface and the volume of the
burner in order to reduce the combustion temperature. In
that case, the amount of produced heat is in the same
order of magnitude as the amount of heat which is
transferred by radiation. A heat transfer by convection is
not taken into account.

Ao

1
2

2500000 kW
m3
1000

kW
m2

=1250

m2
m3

(3)

According to these estimations, the ratio of the burner


surface and the burner volume has to be in the order of
1200 m-1. The relation between the surface and the
volume yields to an estimation for the necessary diameter
for a radiation burner with circular cross section. The
relation between the volume and the lateral area of a
cylinder is given by Equation 4 and the corresponding
relation for a rectangular cross section is given by
Equation 5.

d in mm
2.5
5.0
7.5
Table 1:

length of the tube for


complete radiative
transport in mm
24
50
67

Tmax in K
1700
1780
1860

The computed maximum temperatures and


the resulting necessary length of the
combustion chamber for complete radiative
transport
100

Tmax in K

1873
T max in K
L in mm

80
60

1773
40

L in mm

with different diameters and a thermal surface load of the


combustion chamber of P/A = 5000-10000 kW/m.
In the computations, simplified conditions were used, as
stated below:
=
the temperature of the combustion chamber was
assumed as constant at 1573 K
=
the surface of the burner A1 = 1/10 A2
=
consideration of the reaction kinetics over a simplified
mechanism (11 reactions) proposed by Tsatsaronis,
1977, according to a sensitivity analysis
=
in the boundary conditions the heat transfer between
the combustion chamber and the burner is included
taking into consideration the convection, the radiation
and the heat conduction within the burner wall
A multiple grid method with two grids was used for the
computations of the temperature fields. The generated grid
has a refinement in the area of the reaction zone.
The performed simulation for a combustion chamber
diameter of 5 mm, for a thermal surface load of
10000 kW/m, and for an excess-oxygen ratio of = 2.0
shows that the temperature in the combustion chamber
increases to 2100 K. The computed temperature field is
shown in Figure 6. Due to the mechanical demands, a
combustion chamber diameter of 5 mm is considered as a
lower limit for the technical realization. Therefore, the
thermal load is reduced for the following computations until
the maximum temperature drops to a controllable value.
For the computations, attention was focused to keep the
combustion chamber temperature below 1800 K because,
if so, SiC materials could be used for the realization of the
burner which is advantageous due to the high temperature
cycle resistance of SiC. Al2O3, MgO and ZrO2 materials
are then only necessary for thermal highly stressed
components e. g. the porous matrix itself.

20
1673

0
0

d in mm

Figure 7:

The computed maximum temperatures and


the length of the radiating housing in terms of
the tube diameter

In order to avoid high temperature peaks when


combusting methane with oxygen, the possibility of a multistaged combustion was investigated. A possible setup of
such a burner with methane staging is shown
schematically in Figure 8. Numerically obtained
temperature fields of this setup are presented in Figure 9.

Temperature
[K]
2073

0.15

2023
1973
0.1
Length [m]

1923

CH4 /O2

1873

Figure 8:

CH4

CH4

CH4

exhaust gas

Radiation burner with multi-staged combustion

1823

0.05

0.15

0.15

1773

Temperature
[K]
1873

0.15

0.15

1853

1723

1833
1813

1673

1573

Computed temperature field for a tube


diameter of 5 mm for a thermal load of
10000 kW/m and for an excess-oxygen ratio
of = 2.0; Temperature in K

0.05

0.05

1793
1773

Length [m]

Figure 6:

Length [m]

0
0.002
Radius [m]

Length [m]

1623

0.1

0.1
Length [m]

0.1

0.1

1753
1733
1713

0.05

0.05

1693
1673
1653
1633

In order to investigate the influence of the combustion


chamber diameter on the temperature fields within the
porous matrix, computations for different combustion
chamber diameters (d = 7.5 mm, d = 5 mm, and
d = 2.5 mm) were performed, while all other boundary
conditions
remained
unchanged.
The maximum
temperatures as well as the resulting necessary length of
the combustion chamber for the three diameters are
summarized in Table 1. The computed maximum
temperatures in terms of the tube diameter are shown in
Figure 7. Both, the length of the radiating combustion zone
and the calculated maximum temperature increase almost
proportionally with the diameter of the combustion
chamber.

1613
0

0
0
0.002
Radius [m]
st

1 stage
st

0
0
0.002
Radius [m]
nd

2 stage

0
0.002
Radius [m]
rd

3 stage

1 stage:
2nd stage:
3rd stage:
4th stage:

P/A = 7500 kW/m,


P/A = 2700 kW/m,
P/A = 2700 kW/m,
P/A = 2700 kW/m,

= 2.5,
= 1.82,
= 1.43,
= 1.18,

Figure 9:

Radiation
burner
with
combustion, Temperature in K

0
0.002
Radius [m]

1593
1573

th

4 stage
Tmax = 1800 K
Tmax = 1773 K
Tmax = 1773 K
Tmax = 1773 K
multi-staged

The first stage was calculated for a thermal load of


7500 kW/m2 and for an excess-oxygen ratio of = 2.5. In
4

each of the following stages, a high enough amount of


methane has to be dosed into; thus the combustion
chamber temperature increases to the level of the first
stage again. The amount of energy that is brought into the
following steps equals the amount of heat per individual
burner transferred to the furnace. The efficiency of the first
stage under those conditions can be estimated to 36%,
while the efficiency of all the other stages can be
estimated to 100%. The transferred absolute power of one
stage amounts to 53 W and the thermal surface load
amounts to 3 W/cm. To realize a burner power of 25 kW,
470 individual burners would be necessary under such
conditions.

DESIGN OF A CONTINUOUS STAGED OXY-FUEL


RADIANT POROUS BURNER
Figure 11: Schematic diagram of the designed oxy-fuel
radiant porous burner with a furnace wall

From the computational results it became clear that an


oxy-fuel radiant porous burner must show a very small
dimension perpendicular to the flow direction. Otherwise,
the heat produced inside of the porous body cannot be
transported to the surface fast enough and an overheating
of the combustion chamber would result. The very small
dimensions of the combustion chamber, which result from
the above considerations would lead to extremely small
and fragile burners that probably cannot stand the thermal
and mechanical stresses in the real furnaces. In order to
realize a radiation burner a solution is needed which
combines the necessary small burning chamber
dimensions with a high enough surface area and a
sufficient mechanical strength.
Numeric computations for a radiation burner operating
with premixed gas and pure oxygen showed that the
necessary length of the combustion region is very small,
and if according to the previous paragraph small burner
dimensions perpendicular to the flow are applied, the
burner surface is reaching the furnace temperature within
some millimeters. Even if the combustion is only partially
premixed and the methane is fed into the burner in multiple
stages, the reaction zone is not enlarged essentially.
Therefore, is was inevitable to find a method allowing the
continuous dosing of methane across the entire burner. In
doing so, the heat release is stretched over the complete
combustion chamber. The surface area which contributes
to the radiative heat transport is almost the complete
burning chamber surface.
The considerations of the previous two paragraphs led to
the design of an annular gap shaped combustion chamber,
which is shown in figures 10 and 11. Only a very lean
methane-air mixture enters the actual combustion
chamber in the tangential direction. The rest of the
methane is pressed through the permeable inner tube,
thus leading to a continuously staged combustion process.
The annular gap is primarily fed with a lean methaneoxygen mixture (excess oxygen ratio of about 5).

The designed thermal surface radiant load amounts to


100 kW/m, which can be achieved at temperatures as
high as 1500C, which can be handled with conventional
ceramic materials. However, with better materials at hand
in the future the necessary overall surface area can be
reduced to as much as one third, due to a much higher
amount of heat transferable per unit area.
The permeable inner tube was designed in such away,
that the methane distribution is kept constant, although the
pressure and the mass flow in the annular gap are
changing over the angle. An extra cooling tube inside of
the inner tube was foreseen in order to avoid possible
cracking and soot formation of the pure methane in the
inner tube.
EXPERIMENTAL BURNER CONCEPT VALIDATION
The experimental set-up consisted of four mass flow
controllers and one mixing chamber for oxygen, air and
methane. Air was used during the ignition and starting
phase. After a preheating phase with non-staged air
combustion the operation was switched to a staged oxyfuel combustion. Equipment for temperature and exhaust
gas emission measurements was also applied. During the
experiments, the power of the burner and the oxygen
equivalence ratio were controlled by the four mass flow
controllers. A schematic diagram of the experimental setup is shown in Figure 12.

compressed air

mass flow
controller

1,2 MPa
mass flow
controller

magnetic
valve

mixing
chamber

exhaust gas

radiation burner

O2
20 MPa
mass flow
controller
magnetic
valve

CH4
20 MPa

Figure 10: Schematic diagram of the oxy-fuel radiant


burner design

Figure 12: Sketch of the experimental set-up


5

In Figure 13 and 14 the partly mounted burner according


to the basic design of Figure 11 is shown. The materials
used are the following:
=
C/SiC was used for the burner housing
=
sintered SiC was used for the permeable tube
=
MgO in the pure crystalline form of periclase as well
as SiC was used as porous material in the
combustion region

Figure 15: Picture of an operating oxy-fuel radiant burner


The purpose of the experimental tests was to find out
whether or not the developed concept for an oxy-fuel
radiation burner works. The main issue was to succeed in
keeping the temperatures of the radiation burner below the
known material limits (< 1800C) although pure oxy-fuel
combustion was realized, which normally delivers very
high temperatures.
Due to the rather complex geometry only a C/SiC
burner housing could be manufactured in a prototype
stage. The temperature cycle resistance of the delivered
housing was significantly decreased in comparison to pure
SiC tubes. This probably resulted from a silicon excess
inside the C/SiC burner parts.
Because of the rather poor material properties no
extensive testing was possible, since the housing was
destructed after some hours of operation. However, the
basic concept could be validated and some major
properties could be revealed.
Temperatures up to 1300C on the burner surface were
achieved in steady operation, however, not in a furnace
environment, but with a simple insulation of the radiant
burner tube. It is estimated, that in a furnace environment,
the surface temperature would be as high as 1500C.
Excess oxygen ratios of almost stoichiometry were
achieved (0.5% excess oxygen) without having any sign of
incomplete combustion or thermal damage of the burner.
Combustion was complete for all cases and emissions of
CH4 and CO were kept in the range of 0-20 ppm for all
conditions. NOx was kept for all cases below 8 ppm. This
is attributed to the principle absence of nitrogen in the
combustible mixture. However, it is known that a small
amount of nitrogen is always present, either in the natural
gas, or in the oxygen supply and is always completely
converted to NOx in oxy-fuel burners due to the high
temperatures. Thus, the very low NOx level indicates the
low combustion chamber temperatures, although oxy-fuel
combustion was applied.
The final damaging of the four burner prototypes was not
due to overheating, but due to low temperature cycle
resistance and happened after several hours of operation.

Figure 13: Partly mounted oxy-fuel radiant burner with


MgO porous body

da
di
t

oxygen

methane
exhaust

APPLICATION OF STAGED COMBUSTION IN AIR-FUEL


POROUS BURNERS
The concept of staging the combustion process in an airfuel porous medium burner has been studied at first by
Chaffin (1991). She stabilized the primary combustion
zone in a foam of PSZ (partially stabilized zirconia) by
using a water-cooled flame arrestor. The reaction products
leaving the first stage were subsequently mixed with
methane and air, respectively. In the following second
stage, the combustion was completed. Her work indicated
that NOx emissions can be significantly reduced by
staging as compared to a single-step operation. As
summarized by Bell et al. (1992), the best results were
obtained for a lean combustion in the first stage and

Figure 14: Partly mounted oxy-fuel radiant burner with


SiC porous body
In Figure 15, a photograph of an oxy-fuel radiant porous
burner in operation is shown.

feeding methane as reactant for the second stage. For this


case, NO was reduced by more than a factor of 2.
However, the water-cooled flame holder resulted in a
complex design and an undesired heat loss for the
application as radiator which was envisaged.
A more efficient construction, which was based on the
use of a fine 65-ppi PSZ foam instead of a water-cooled
flame holder, was utilized by Ellzey and Goel (1995) which
is similar to the flame stabilization of the porous burner
developed at LSTM-Erlangen. They presented more
detailed results in regard to emission measurements. All
the described previous work refers to radiant burners,
whereby the radiative heat penetrates a transparent quartz
tube.
In contrary, the work on staged combustion in air-fuel
porous burners presented in the following operates with
opaque side-walls and elongated combustion regions and
can be used, for instance, to heat up water for domestic
appliances. Furthermore, it works with a novel ceramic
material out of alumina fibers and shows better operation
conditions in regard to the power and air ratio range.
In Figure 16, the basic design of an air-fuel staged
porous burner is shown. The staging can be either quasi
continuous by using five additional stages or discrete at
one of the five positions.

4.

In Figure 18, a numerical calculated temperature field for


a two-staged configuration is presented. The calculation
was performed with the same code (FASTEST 3.52) as for
the staged combustion with oxygen. The most important
changes concern the reaction mechanisms, the
momentum equation and the species dispersion: The used
reaction mechanism set is a reduced one from Kazakov
and Frenklach (1994) and contains 84 reversible reactions
and 19 species plus molecular nitrogen. Instead of the
Darcy equation, the Forchheimer extension was applied.
The dispersion of the considered species within the 10-ppi
SiC foam in the combustion region C was calculated
according to Benz et al. (1993) and was treated
mathematically like the diffusion, but has about two orders
of magnitude higher values.
The presented configuration compromises a perforated
ceramic plate in the flame arrestor region A surrounded by
two aluminium bars and an isolation out of alumina fibers.
Regarding the heat transfer, at the outflow was assumed a
heat flux due to radiation to a heat exchanger of 400C,
while at the top and bottom boundaries, a fixed
temperature of 20C was given, simulating the effect of
cooling the walls by water, which has to be heated up. The
operation parameters are 1380 kW/m in respect to the
primary heat load, the primary air ratio is 1.6. By feeding
31% of the total methane laterally, the overall air ratio
becomes 1.1.

Staged Methane or Air


Insulation
Insulation

Lean or Fat
Premixed
Fuel/Air
Mixture

Flue
Gas

Porous Medium
Quasi-continuous Stage

Zone A,
Flame
Insulation
Thermocouples
Arrestor
First Stage

Figure 16

of 3 can be noted if about 15% of the combusted


methane is fed laterally.
The region above the line of unstaged conditions
maps a lean combustion in the first stage, whereupon
air is fed in the following stages this region is not of
interest for practical applications, but it is interesting
to determine that the NOx emissions are not affected
significantly. This indicates that the relevant NOx
paths in matrix stabilized porous medium burners are
mainly the prompt and the N2O channels rather than
the thermal channel.

Schematic diagram of the staged air-fuel


porous burner

The effects of staging in a laboratory prototype are


demonstrated in Figure 17.

1.6

Primary Thermal Heat Load: 970 kW/m, Quasi-continuous

70

60

20

un
st
ag
ed

100

1.2

30

130

0
13

0
14

1.3

80

1.4

90

140

Total Air Ratio

1.5

140

50

1.1

0.7

0.8

0.9

1.1

1.2

1.3

Primary Air Ratio

1.4

1.5

1.6

NOX
[mg/kWh]
160
150
140
130
120
110
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
25
20
10

Figure 18: Temperature field of a methane staged porous


burner with two stages (numerical simulation)
Figure 18 clarifies that the temperature field in case of
staging gets rather homogeneous. Temperature peaks are
avoided, but moreover, the temperature level keeps for a
longer time as compared with unstaged operation. This
result can also be extracted from Figure 19 showing
experimental results obtained by the three S-type
thermocouples already sketched in Figure 16.
Figure 19 shows a far more flat profile for the staged
configurations as for the single-stage (conventional)
configurations. This result underlines the numerically
predicted uniform temperature distribution without
significant temperature peaks.

Figure 17: Part of the operation field of a quasicontinuous staged porous medium burner
The operation field can be subdivided into four regions:
The line where the primary air ratio is equal to the
total air ratio represents an unstaged or conventional
operation.
2. The region with primary air ratios smaller than 1.0 is
obtained by a fat combustion in the first stage and by
feeding air in the stages afterwards (fat-lean
combustion). One can see that maximum values of
about 160 mg/kWh can be received for stoichiometric
conditions in the first stage. For lower primary air
ratios a slight enhancement can be noticed.
3. The region below the line with unstaged operation
displays a lean combustion in the first stage, in the
following stages methane is added into the
combustion chamber (lean-lean combustion). An
improvement of the NOx emissions by up to a factor
1.

1600 conventional: 690 kW/m; =1.23

are of crucial importance in order to get experience by


many hundred operating hours of the radiation burner in a
pilot furnace environment.
The adapted application of the developed concepts for
the oxy-fuel porous radiant burner in the case of air-fuel
combustion in porous burners was also performed with the
aim of achieving even lower emissions as todays state-ofthe-art standards. The first laboratory results with an airfuel staged porous burner indicated the potential of this
concept for an ultra-low emission burner with high power
modulation and compact size. Further development is
necessary in order to realize a first prototype for a
dedicated application based on this principle. Possible
applications could be domestic heaters or Stirling engines
with combined power and heat co-generation.

multi-staged: 690 kWprimary/m; 910 kWtotal/m; primary=1.63; total=1.23

1500 conventional: 690 kW/m; =1.33


multi-staged: 690 kWprimary/m; 850 kWtotal/m; primary=1.63; total=1.33

1400

conventional: 970 kW/m; =1.23


multi-staged: 970 kWprimary/m; 1210 kWtotal/m; primary=1.53; total=1.23

Temperature [ C]

1300

1200

1100

1000

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial
contribution of the Commission of the European Union
within the Copernicus project no. ERBIC 15 CT 960720.
The fruitful discussions with the project partners J.-M.
Samaniego and B. Labegorre from Air Liquide S. A., Paris
and S. Zhdanok from Chemical Physics Technologies,
Minsk are also gratefully acknowledged.
The authors also thank the following manufacturers and
suppliers who performed research activities on hightemperature resistant materials and provided porous
materials and structures for the experiments: IABG,
Germany; Fraunhofer Gesellschaft IKTS, Germany.

900
20

30

40

50

60

70

80

Distance from burner entrance [mm]

90

100

Figure 19: Temperature distribution within a porous


matrix out of Al2O3 fiber lamellas across the
flow direction for a staged porous medium
burner with a lateral methane feed between
18% and 25% of the total methane and a nonstaged porous medium burner

CONCLUSIONS FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS


A novel high temperature radiant burner concept based
on combustion processes in porous media for oxy-fuel
mixtures was developed. The radiation burner had to
guarantee that neither oxy-fuel mixture nor any
combustion gas reaches the furnace, as a definite
atmosphere had to be maintained inside of the furnace.
The basic result was that it is possible to have nearly
stoichiometric combustion of methane with pure oxygen in
such a porous radiant burner, without reaching the very
high adiabatic combustion temperatures of oxy-fuel
combustion. This became possible by manipulating the
heat transfer within the porous material of the burner and
by adjusting the radiant surface of the burner in such a
way, that the necessary heat amount could be transported
to the furnace environment by radiation. This was only
possible by utilizing a continuous staged combustion within
a thin annular gap. In this way, compact oxy-fuel radiant
burners are feasible, with the basic advantage of a high
radiant efficiency (and depending on the application having
a corresponding high process efficiency) and allowing a
significantly more compact design of furnaces than the
existing oxy-fuel burners operating with free flames.
Moreover, by using the porous burner technology, a
homogeneous temperature distribution along the tube
surface and low pollutant emissions can be realized.
The performed numerical predictions indicated that the
developed concept is very promising. The experiments
with laboratory prototypes showed that the temperatures in
the combustion chamber and on the burner surface are at
the same level as previously predicted by numerical
calculations and, thus, not only the developed concept, but
also the developed numerical code was experimentally
validated.
Meanwhile, better SiC housings and tubes could be
manufactured. The damage of the burner tubes caused by
high thermal stresses could be prevented with the use of
high quality materials and porous bodies leading to an
uniform distribution of the combusting gases. A different
construction could also be employed to guarantee a better
sealing of the burner construction.
Further steps in the future development of the oxy-fuel
radiation burner should be the optimization of the burner
dimensions including the design of the inner wall and the
combustion chamber thickness. High quality ceramic parts

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