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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Drying of hog fuel in a fixed bed Sheikholeslami, Roya


Hog fuel is increasingly becoming an alternative to alleviate the energy problems associated with the use of fossil fuels. To make adequate use of hog fuel, its moisture content should be reduced prior to combustion either in an external dryer or in the initial stages of a hog fuel boiler. Therefore, this research project was undertaken to establish the factors which govern the drying rate of wet hog fuel particles. The convective drying of wood-waste on the slow moving bed of hog fuel boilers was simulated in a packed bed. The information which was obtained can also be applied to approximate the drying behaviour in external dryers. An apparatus was constructed to accommodate the use of hot air, flue gas, superheated steam and a mixture of them as drying media. Drying tests were carried out, over the temperature range of 125-245°C, on 1.1 to 4 kg batches of Western Hemlock hog fuel of thicknesses from 2 to 12 mm. The relative effects of velocity (V), temperature (T), nature of the drying gas, bed depth (L), and initial moisture content of the hog fuel samples (M₀) on the drying process were investigated using a mixture of several thickness fractions having an average (sauter mean) particle thickness (dp) of 6.3 mm. Drying rates were determined through measurement of the change either in humidity of the drying gas, or flow rate of the superheated steam across the bed of hog fuel. Gas humidity was measured using an optical dew point sensor and steam flow was monitored using an orifice plate connected to a massflow transmitter. Drying rates have been quantified as functions of hog fuel particle thickness, initial moisture content and bed depth. The effects of gas temperature, velocity and humidity have also been quantitatively established. The drying process was insensitive to CO₂ content of the drying gas. The existence of an inversion temperature above which drying rates increase with humidity of the drying medium was both experimentally and theoretically confirmed and the locus of inversion points was determined. Instantaneous normalized drying rates, ƒ, and characteristic moisture contents, Φ , have been determined and the existence of a unified characteristic drying rate curve was verified. Using a receding plane model, ƒ was formulated as a function of Φ, for dp = 6.3 mm and at L = 25 cm, for both superheated steam and relatively dry air. Pressure drop measurements were obtained for all the runs with the exception of the superheated steam ones. Application of an accepted pressure drop equation permitted the sphericity of the hog fuel particles to be approximated. A design equation for gas pressure drop in beds of hog fuel particles was investigated. The simultaneous heat and mass transfer processes in drying during the heat transfer controlled period was studied. Using the concept of volumetric evaporation, an empirical correlation for the overall heat transfer coefficient in a packed bed of hog fuel particles has been obtained. The effects of different parameters on both the particle residence time required for drying and the grate heat release rate in hog fuel boilers were determined.

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