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An experimental study on the impact of temperature, gasifying agents composition and pressure in the conversion of coal chars to combustible gas products in the context of Underground Coal Gasification

Konstantinou, Eleni 2016. An experimental study on the impact of temperature, gasifying agents composition and pressure in the conversion of coal chars to combustible gas products in the context of Underground Coal Gasification. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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The key controlling factor in the effective energy conversion of coal to combustible gases during the UCG process is the behaviour of the pyrolysed char in the reduction zone of the UCG cavity, which has not been published in available academic literature. This study investigates the impact of the operating parameters during the reduction zone of UCG using a bespoke high pressure high temperature rig which was developed as part of this research work. This rig, operating at temperatures of up to 900 oC and at pressures up to 5.0 MPa, simulates the UCG process including each UCG zone individually for a broad range of underground conditions to a depth of 500 m. Carbon dioxide and steam were used as the primary reductants with char derived from dry steam coal and anthracite sample. Carbon dioxide and steam were injected at a variety of pressures and temperatures, plus at a range of relative H2O/CO2 proportions. The composition of the resulting product gas of both coals was measured and subsequently used to calculate carbon conversion (X), carbon conversion of combustible gases ( ), cold gas efficiency (CGE) and low heating value (LHV) of the product gas. Optimal operating conditions were determined for the dry steam coal and anthracite that produced the best gas composition both at atmospheric and elevated pressure and are unique for each UCG system. A shrinking core model was employed to describe the behaviour of the pyrolised char to determine the activation energy and pre-exponential factor at atmospheric pressure for both coals. The evolution of the volatile matter of both coals and its contribution to the overall UCG performance was also determined. An optimum H2O/CO2 ratio was determined for both coals which enhanced the gasification rate of both coal chars up to the ratio of 2:1, above this ratio the effect saturated for both coals. It was shown that pressure increases the reduction-gasification process of the chars which suggests that there is an optimum operating pressure which produces a peak in carbon conversion, CGE and LHV for the product gas over the conditions tested that differs for each coal. Therefore UCG projects aiming at reaching higher pressures will not achieve an increase in the output, unless there are some new effects occurring above 4.0 MPa. Pressure enhances the gas solid reactions and almost doubles the max carbon conversion ( of combustible gases achieved at elevated pressure compared to that at atmospheric pressure. A shrinking core model was modified to take into account the effect of total pressure to the gasification rate of dry steam coal at 900 oC and pressures ranging from 0.7 to 1.65 MPa. Reaction constants for various pressures at 900 oC were determined for both coal chars. Analysis of data shown that typical UCG operations on low rank coals provides a combustible product gas that relies heavily on releasing the volatile matter from the coal and does not depend on the carbon conversion of char to gas which justifies the high CGE and LHV of the product gas found in the field trials. It was found that carbon conversion X is not significantly affected by the type of coal and that the carbon converted during UCG is between approximately 45% for high rank coals up to 55% for low rank coals. Experimental results were used to calculate the output, size and UCG model of a potential power plant which produced realistic solutions and proves that high rank coals can be suitable for UCG projects. Anthracite can produce almost the same amount of combustible gases as the dry steam coal operating under specific conditions but with a lower CGE and LHV which suggests that anthracite may be found to be more suitable for producing hydrocarbons with UCG than energy.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Engineering
Subjects: T Technology > TD Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering
T Technology > TN Mining engineering. Metallurgy
Uncontrolled Keywords: UCG; Underground coal gasification; High pressure gasification; Carbon dioxide-steam gasification; Carbon conversion; Gas.
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 1 March 2017
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2022 16:02

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