Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Optimising fossil fuel yields

Coal is one of the primary fossil fuels on which the world relies for energy generation. As a non-renewable resource, it is vital to cost-effectively match this fossil fuel with the combustion system to be used in order to achieve the optimal energy yield. It is precisely this need that the Fuel Valuation method strives to fulfil.
Optimising fossil fuel yields
Coal is an organic rock comprised of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen that has been formed over the years from vegetation and whose combustible properties make it an ideal energy resource. More specifically, coal is made up of macerals, which are microscopic organic materials with diverse chemical characteristics, and of minerals, which are inorganic. Although, the macerals constitute the power producing elements of coal, the mineral matter is of utmost interest in terms of energy generation. Since this mineral matter occurs in coal in a vast array of forms and amounts, these variations alter the power yield of coal in economically significant ways.

In response, research conducted at the University of Gøteborg and Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden provided the foundation for Fuel Valuation (trademark). This innovation is an internationally patented software product with a complex algorithm that aims to make coal usage for energy purposes economically profitable by assessing the precise calorific, or power production, value of fossil fuels in relation to a specific combustion system. As each combustion system varies, this unique method matches the fuel being used to the ideal system by evaluating maceral and mineral reactions throughout the combustion process and consequently can be used to optimise combustion plant design.

In fact, the Fuel Valuation method assesses calorific yield within a variety of combustion parameters and then perfects the combustion process by suggesting optimal combustion parameters, such as temperature and air factor, for specific fuels and plants. This new method greatly affects the economic competitiveness of combustion plant manufacturers and users as it heightens boiler efficiency. This novel method can prove very useful for fuel commerce, to assess a variety of fuels' ability to generate energy prior to actual use in the combustion plant.

It is interesting to note that Fuel Valuation can be utilised for cement manufacturing processes as well as for many types of fossil fuels, thus making this product both useful and versatile.
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