Evaluating the NOx Performance of a Steam Generator for Heavy Oil Production: Impact of Combustion System Design

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Title Evaluating the NOx Performance of a Steam Generator for Heavy Oil Production: Impact of Combustion System Design
Creator Thornock, J.N.
Contributor Spinti, J.P.; Hradisky, M.; Smith, P.J.; Coleman, B.; Brancaccio, N.; Storslett, S.; Nowakowski, J.; Robertson, T.
Date 2014-09-10
Spatial Coverage Houston, Texas
Subject 2014 AFRC Industrial Combustion Symposium
Description Paper from the AFRC 2014 conference titled Evaluating the NOx Performance of a Steam Generator for Heavy Oil Production: Impact of Combustion System Design by J.N. Spinti.
Abstract Chevron operates approximately 150 steam generators for heavy oil production in Californiaʼs San Joaquin Valley. To meet increasingly stringent NOx regulations, these steam generators have been retrofitted with the Fives North American GLE combustion system. To better understand the combustion environment where NOx is being formed and to devise new firing schemes that further reduce NOx emissions, researchers at the Institute for Clean and Secure Energy (ICSE) at the University of Utah have teamed with personnel from Chevron U.S.A. Inc., and Fives North American Combustion to apply high-performance computing Large Eddy Simulation (LES) tools to a Chevron steam generator. The high fidelity simulations needed to adequately resolve the length and time scales critical to NOx formation were performed in two parts. In part one, the commercial software package STAR-CCM+ was used to resolve the flow field through the complex geometry of the burner. In part two, this computed flow field at the burner's outlet plane provided the input to a simulation of the front half of the steam generator using ARCHES, an LES code developed by ICSE researchers. ARCHES simulations, with a computational domain of 50 million cells, required 2800 processors for one week to reach a statistical steady state. Though not a formal validation/uncertainty quantification study, simulation data is been compared with field data collected on a GLE-equipped steam generator at various axial and radial locations. The primary quantity of interest is NOx concentration, but comparisons are also made with O2 concen-trations and gas temperature. Simulation and experimental data exhibit similar profiles for both NOx and O2 concentrations. The simulation temperatures are consistently higher than experimentally-measured temperatures, but the temperature sensitivity of the NOx formation rate indicates that the higher temperatures are more probable. Two combustion system configurations were compared in this study: (1) a baseline GLE system, and (2) a GLE system with the addition of Flue Gas Recirculation (FGR) in a Large Scale Recirculation (LSR) arrangement. These two configurations represent contrasting combustion regimes as seen in volume-rendered images and movies created from the ARCHES simulations. With the GLE burner, the injection of secondary fuel creates high-temperature flame fronts where fuel and oxidant mix and react. With the addition of FGR into the secondary fuel, a flameless burning mode results in which maximum flame temperatures are reduced. The implications of these burner designs on NOx emissions will be discussed.
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Format application/pdf
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ARK ark:/87278/s6cg2n7h
Setname uu_afrc
ID 14395
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6cg2n7h