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Separation of harmful impurities from refuse derived fuels (RDF) by a fluidized bed

: Krüger, Burkhard; Mrotzek, Asja; Wirtz, Siegmar


Waste management 34 (2014), No.2, pp.390-401
ISSN: 0956-053X
ISSN: 1879-2456
Journal Article
Fraunhofer UMSICHT Oberhausen ()
separation; fuel; fluidised bed

In firing systems of cement production plants and coal-fired power plants, regular fossil fuels are increasingly substituted by alternative fuels. Rising energy prices and ambitious CO2-reduction goals promote the use of alternative fuels as a significant contribution to efficient energy recovery. One possibility to protect energy resources are refuse-derived fuels (RDF), which are produced during the treatment of municipal solid, commercial and industrial waste. The waste fractions suitable for RDF have a high calorific value and are often not suitable for material recycling. With current treatment processes, RDF still contains components which impede the utilization in firing systems or limit the degree of substitution. The content of these undesired components may amount to 4 wt%. These, in most cases incombustible particles which consist of mineral, ceramic and metallic materials can cause damages in the conveying systems (e. g. rotary feeder) or result in contaminations of the products (e. g. cement, chalk). Up-to-date separation processes (sieve machine, magnet separator or air classifier) have individual weaknesses that could hamper a secure separation of these particles.
This article describes a new technology for the separation of impurities from refuse derived fuels based on a rotating fluidized bed. In this concept a rotating motion of the particle bed is obtained by the tangential injection of the fluidization gas in a static geometry. The RDF-particles experience a centrifugal force which fluidized the bed radially. The technical principle allows tearing up of particle clusters to single particles. Radially inwards the vertical velocity is much lower thus particles of every description can fall down there. For the subsequent separation of the particles by form and density an additionally cone shaped plate was installed in the centre. Impurities have a higher density and a compact form compared to combustible particles and can be separated with a high efficiency. The new technology was experimentally investigated and proven using model-RDF, actual-RDF and impurities of different densities. In addition, numerical simulations were also done. The fluidization chamber was operated in batch mode. The article describes experiences and difficulties in using rotating fluidized bed systems.