A review of the numerical modeling of pulverized coal combustion for high-efficiency, low-emissions (HELE) power generation

Jongho Kim, Soonho Lee, Arash Tahmasebi, Chung-Hwan Jeon, Jianglong Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


High-efficiency, low-emissions (HELE) coal-fired power plant technologies operate with a higher thermal efficiency of the steam cycle for coal-fired power generation, reducing CO2 emissions per unit energy generation. They represent some of the primary and intermediate solutions to the world's energy security. Extensive numerical modeling efforts have been undertaken over the past several decades, which have increased our understanding of the technical problems in HELE boilers, including combustion and boiler performance optimization, ash deposition, and material problems at higher operating temperatures and pressures. Overall, the differences in the physical and chemical models, boiler performance, and ash deposition of oxy-fuel combustion in HELE boilers that recirculate CO2 and H2O in the boilers are also discussed in comparison with the combustion of coal in the air. This Review comprehensively summarizes the current research on numerical modeling to offer a better understanding of the technical aspects and provides future research requirements of HELE coal-fired boilers, including boiler performance optimization, ash deposition, and material problems. The effects of changes in the configuration and operating conditions are discussed, focusing on the optimization of boiler performance in aspects such as unburnt carbon and NOx emissions. The paper also reviews the retrofit and optimization of operating conditions and the burner geometry with the low-NOx coal combustion technologies necessary to operate the HELE power plants. In terms of ash deposition, the development of submodels, including particle sticking and impacting behaviors and their effects on the deposit growth predictions under different temperatures, are discussed. Numerical models of the material oxidation and creep in the austenitic and nickel-based alloys generally used in HELE conditions have been developed using the finite element method to predict the availability of advanced alloys and creep life in the actual service time of the boiler parts. The predictions of oxide scale growth and exfoliation on the steam-side and fire-side and the creep strength are analyzed. The review also identifies some further research requirements in numerical modeling to achieve the optimization of coal combustion processes and address the technical problems in advanced HELE power plant operations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7434-7466
Number of pages33
JournalEnergy and Fuels
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2021

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