Nearly half of the electrical power produced in the United States is generated with coal. Coal power is inexpensive and reliable, but coal combustion releases harmful pollutants including NOx and SOx into the atmosphere if not controlled. CO2, a greenhouse gas, is also released during coal combustion and may contribute to global warming. A promising technology enabling carbon capture is oxy-coal combustion. During oxy-combustion, coal is burned in an atmosphere of O2 and recycled flue gas to eliminate nitrogen which makes up the majority of air-combustion flue gas. Oxy-combustion flue gas is mainly composed of CO2 and H2O. H2O can be condensed out of the gas, and the CO2 can then be captured and permanently stored relatively easily. The composition of the gas inside an oxy-fired boiler will be different due to the absence of nitrogen and the recycling of flue gas. Corrosive sulfur and chlorine gas species concentrations will be higher, and CO and NOx concentrations will be effected. An understanding of the differences in gas concentrations is critical to oxy-combustion boiler design. Four different pulverized coals were combusted in a reactor under staged and unstaged oxy-combustion conditions with warm recycled flue gas (420°F) to simulate conditions in an oxy-fired coal boiler. The gas composition was measured in the reducing and oxidizing zones for staged combustion, and in the same locations, 57 cm and 216 cm from the burner, for unstaged combustion. The results were compared to the results from similar staged air-combustion experiments using the same coals and burner. CO concentrations were higher for staged oxy-combustion compared to air-combustion, and the increase was more substantial for lower rank coals. H2S concentrations in the reducing regions were also higher, and the fraction of gas phase sulfur measured as H2S was higher for oxy-combustion. SO2 concentrations were 2.9 to 3.8 times as high as air-combustion concentrations. The measured conversion of coal sulfur to SO3 was lower for oxy-combustion, and ranged from 0.61% to 0.98%. The average fraction of coal sulfur measured in the gas phase was 84%, 80%, and 85% for staged oxy-combustion, unstaged oxy-combustion, and staged air-combustion respectively. HCl concentrations were 2.8 to 3.1 times higher in the staged oxy-combustion oxidizing zone, and a smaller fraction of coal chlorine was measured in the reducing zone. On average 70.8%, 79.5%, and 71.1% of the coal chlorine was measured as HCl for staged oxy-combustion, unstaged oxy-combustion, and staged air-combustion respectively. The fractions of coal chlorine and sulfur measured in the gas phase for staged combustion were not significantly affected by combustion media. Some staged oxy-combustion NO concentrations were lower than air-combustion concentrations while others were slightly higher, and NO emission rates were much lower due to recycling NO through the burner.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





carbon capture, oxy-coal combustion, oxy-combustion, flue gas recycle, pulverized coal combustion, SOx, SO2, SO3, HCl, NOx, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen chloride, NOx reburning