US20100294179A1 - Gasification combustion system - Google Patents

Gasification combustion system Download PDF

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Publication number
US20100294179A1
US20100294179A1 US12782536 US78253610A US2010294179A1 US 20100294179 A1 US20100294179 A1 US 20100294179A1 US 12782536 US12782536 US 12782536 US 78253610 A US78253610 A US 78253610A US 2010294179 A1 US2010294179 A1 US 2010294179A1
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Prior art keywords
gas
combustor
regulator
refuse
system
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Abandoned
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US12782536
Inventor
Ron Broglio
Hanwei ZHANG
Robert Lees Barker
Stephen Paul Goff
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COVANTA ENERGY LLC
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COVANTA ENERGY CORP
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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F23COMBUSTION APPARATUS; COMBUSTION PROCESSES
    • F23GCREMATION FURNACES; CONSUMING WASTE PRODUCTS BY COMBUSTION
    • F23G5/00Incineration of waste; Incinerator constructions; Details, accessories or control therefor
    • F23G5/02Incineration of waste; Incinerator constructions; Details, accessories or control therefor with pretreatment
    • F23G5/027Incineration of waste; Incinerator constructions; Details, accessories or control therefor with pretreatment pyrolising or gasifying stage
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F23COMBUSTION APPARATUS; COMBUSTION PROCESSES
    • F23GCREMATION FURNACES; CONSUMING WASTE PRODUCTS BY COMBUSTION
    • F23G5/00Incineration of waste; Incinerator constructions; Details, accessories or control therefor
    • F23G5/08Incineration of waste; Incinerator constructions; Details, accessories or control therefor having supplementary heating
    • F23G5/14Incineration of waste; Incinerator constructions; Details, accessories or control therefor having supplementary heating including secondary combustion
    • F23G5/16Incineration of waste; Incinerator constructions; Details, accessories or control therefor having supplementary heating including secondary combustion in a separate combustion chamber
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F23COMBUSTION APPARATUS; COMBUSTION PROCESSES
    • F23GCREMATION FURNACES; CONSUMING WASTE PRODUCTS BY COMBUSTION
    • F23G5/00Incineration of waste; Incinerator constructions; Details, accessories or control therefor
    • F23G5/50Control or safety arrangements
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F23COMBUSTION APPARATUS; COMBUSTION PROCESSES
    • F23NREGULATING OR CONTROLLING COMBUSTION
    • F23N3/00Regulating air supply or draught
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F23COMBUSTION APPARATUS; COMBUSTION PROCESSES
    • F23NREGULATING OR CONTROLLING COMBUSTION
    • F23N5/00Systems for controlling combustion
    • F23N5/02Systems for controlling combustion using devices responsive to thermal changes or to thermal expansion of a medium

Abstract

A two stage refuse gasification combustion system for processing refuse is disclosed. The system may contain features such as an advancer, a first and second gasifier, a drier, a gas regulator, and a post combustor. Additionally, methods for regulating gas and advancing refuse through a two stage refuse gasification combustion system are disclosed.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE
  • This application is a continuation in part of U.S. application Ser. No. 12/467,887 filed May 18, 2009.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to gasification or combustion systems generally. More specifically, the present invention relates to a method and system for regulating the flow of gas and refuse through a gasifier or combustor system.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Municipal solid waste (“MSW”) is the gross product collected and processed by municipalities and governments. MSW includes durable and non-durable goods, containers and packaging, food and yard wastes, as well as miscellaneous inorganic wastes from residential, commercial, and industrial sources. Examples include newsprint, appliances, clothing, scrap food, containers and packaging, disposable diapers, plastics of all sort including disposable tableware and foamed packaging materials, rubber and wood products, potting soil, yard trimmings and consumer electronics, as part of an open-ended list of disposable or throw-away products. A traditional method of waste disposal is a landfill, which is still a common practice in some areas. Many local authorities, however, have found it difficult to establish new landfills. In those areas, the solid waste must be transported for disposal, making it more expensive.
  • As an alternative to landfills, a substantial amount of MSW may be disposed of by combustion at a municipal solid waste combustor (“MWC”) to help recover energy from the waste. The conversion of waste to energy is often performed at a waste-to-energy plant (“WTE”). One of the problems associated with the conventional combustion of MSW and other solid fuels is that it creates small amounts of undesirable and potentially harmful byproducts, such as NOx, carbon monoxide, and dioxins. For example, NOx is formed during combustion through two primary mechanisms. First, fuel NOx is formed by the oxidation of organically bound nitrogen (N) found in MSW and other fuels. When the amount of O2 in the combustion chamber is low, N2 is the predominant reaction product. However, when a substantial amount of O2 is available, an increased portion of the fuel-bound N is converted to NOx. Second, thermal NOx is formed by the oxidation of atmospheric N2 at high temperatures. Because of the high activation energy required, thermal NOx formation does not become significant until flame temperatures reach 1,100° C. (2,000° F.).
  • Another problem in the prior art is the unavailability of systems or methods of combusting refuse having high moisture content. The high moisture content of refuse in countries like China complicates the combustion process because the higher moisture can create unstable combustion because extra heat is needed to dry refuse and leads to lower furnace temperature. Higher moisture content refuse requires more gas flow (air) to dry the refuse. It may be difficult to increase gas flow in conventional systems because the additional gas flow will increase the requirement of fans and decrease boiler efficiency.
  • Despite the improvements made in reducing the harmful emissions of conventional combustion systems, there is still a need for alternative methods and systems that efficiently convert MSW, high moisture content MSW, and/or other solid fuels to energy while producing a minimal amount of undesirable emissions.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to a gasification combustion system and method which controls the rate of gasification or combustion. By controlling the oxidant supply and temperature of gasification or combustion, the system can more efficiently burn refuse and reduce the emission of harmful products (gases and/or solids) into the atmosphere. Additionally, by controlling the rate and temperature of gasification or combustion, a more durable system can be created which will be more efficient in terms of energy conversion and flue gas processing after MSW thermal treatment.
  • Embodiments of the present invention may employ a moving grate that enables the movement of waste through the combustion chamber and thus allows complete combustion of the waste. Additionally, a primary air source and a secondary air source may be utilized. Primary air may be supplied from under the grate and forced through the grate to sequentially dry (evolve water), de-volatilize (evolve volatile hydrocarbons), and burn out (oxidize nonvolatile hydrocarbons) along the waste bed. The quantity of primary air may be adjusted to maximize burn out of the carbonaceous materials in the waste bed, while minimizing the excess air. Secondary air may be supplied through nozzles located above the grate and used to create turbulent mixing that destroys the hydrocarbons that evolved from the waste bed. The total amount of air (primary and secondary) used in the system may vary from approximately 30% to 100% more than the amount of air required to achieve stoichiometric conditions (i.e., the minimum amount of air to theoretically completely combust the fuel).
  • The invention may utilize different technologies for reducing the harmful emissions created by conventional MSW combustion systems. For example, combustion controls and post-combustion controls may be used. Combustion controls limit the formation of NOx during the combustion process by reducing the availability of O2 within the flame and by lowering combustion zone temperatures; whereas post-combustion controls involve the removal of the NOx emissions produced during the combustion process (e.g., selective non-catalytic reduction (SNCR) systems and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems).
  • In one embodiment of the present invention, a two stage refuse gasification combustion system for processing refuse is disclosed. The system may comprise an advancer, a first and second gasifier, a first gas regulator, and a post combustor. A two gasifier system works better than a one gasifier system because two gasifiers provide the chance to more precisely control the reactions: the first gasifier mainly dries and gasifies refuse, and the second focuses on gasification and burnout, where recirculated flue gas can be used (CO2 in flue gas will help the carbon conversion). The post combustor may contain a connection to the first and second gasifier, and an ash collector designed to receive fly ash and heavy weight particles. The ash collector may contain a connection to the second gasifier for directing the fly ash and heavy weight particles into the second gasifier. The first gas regulator may contain an input port for receiving gas, an output port for outputting gas, valves for regulating gas flow, and control software to allow the regulator to control opening and closing of the valves which regulate how much gas flows into the input port and how much gas flows out of the output port
  • In another embodiment of the invention, a system and method for combusting refuse having high moisture content is disclosed. While certain configurations of the below system are intended for refuse having a high moisture content (30-60%) by mass, other configurations of this system may be used with refuse having a low moisture content (10-30% by mass). High moisture gas is gas having a water vapor concentration that is greater than 1% by volume. In certain embodiments of the invention, the concentration of water vapor in the port extending from the drier may be 5 to 50 percent by volume. In embodiments featuring no drier, the concentration of water vapor in the port extending from the first gasifier may be0 to 15percent by volume; and 0 to 15 percent by volume in the port extending from the second gasifier (if there is one). Aspects of the invention may contain specially engineered components and architecture to address some of the known problems with combusting high moisture refuse.
  • Certain configurations of the high moisture combustion system may comprise a drier or drying chamber for drying high moisture refuse before it enters a combustion chamber. In such a configuration, air may be delivered to the drier through an under grate gas hopper. The air may be passed through the drier and delivered to the gasifier as secondary air to enhance mixing of oxygen and volatiles from MSW. The secondary air may also be injected into a post combustor to oxidize syngas from the gasifier. The combustion chamber may receive primary air from other gas sources. Through utilizing a drier which recirculates the under grate gas into the gasifier, less air can be infused into the system, reducing the production of fly ash and reducing energy consumption. The system may comprise air nozzles in specific locations and directions to increase air circulation in the post combustor in order to reduce the production of carbon-monoxide. In some embodiments, tertiary air may be injected into the system from a gas source to reduce the production of nitrous oxide. In certain configurations of the system, the recirculated air may be injected in the combustor or post combustor to reduce the amount of unburned carbon content in bottom ash. In some configurations, the system will be able to reduce the moisture content of the refuse to 20% or lower by mass.
  • Although not shown in a figure, some configurations of the present invention may comprise a drier, two gasifiers, a post combustor, a controller, and/or a regulator. Such a system may be useful for gasifying (with a post combustor) certain types of refuse such as high moisture wastes (e.g., MSW from China or sludges).
  • The system described above may also contain the following additional features. The system may comprise an input having an opening formed by an outer housing for receiving said refuse. The system may comprise a first gas hopper fluidly connected to a first gas splitter and the first gasifier. The first gas splitter may be connectable to a gas source for receiving gas external from the system. Also, the first and second gasifier may comprise a sloped top for directing gas into the post combustor. The system may comprise a second gas hopper fluidly connected to a second gas splitter and the second gasifier. The second gas splitter may be connectable to a gas source for receiving gas external from the system. The ash collector of the post combustor may comprise a conical or cyclone shape. The first regulator may comprise: a gas source containing compressed gas or a gas movement device; a sensor for determining gas temperature in the post combustor or ports leading into the post combustor; and an adjuster for adjusting the amount of gas flowing into the post combustor. The adjuster may also allow the regulator to adjust the angle in which ports expel gas into the post combustor. The system may also comprise a flue connected to the post combustor. The flue may comprise a valve operable to allow gas to escape the system when the valve is in a first position or cause gas to recirculate in a second position. The system may also comprise a second gas regulator for directing gas through the system. The second gas regulator may contain a connection with the flue to receive recirculated gas from the flue and a valve controller to control the position of the flue valve. The second gas regulator may also comprise a connection to the gas source to allow the second gas regulator to receive gas external from the system; a gas output connected to the first gas regulator to direct gas into the first gas regulator; and a valve and valve controller to control how much gas from the flue and the gas source flows through the gas output. The first gas regulator may comprise an input for receiving gas from the second gasifier and an input for receiving gas from the second gas regulator, and at least three output ports for directing gas into the post combustor. The first output port may be connected to a lower portion of a sidewall of the post combustor for directing gas horizontally in the post combustor. The second output port may be connected to an upper portion of the sidewall of the post combustor for directing gas horizontally in the post combustor. The third output port may be connected to a top portion of the post combustor for directing gas downwardly into the post combustor. The first gas regulator may contain an adjuster for manipulating the angle at which the three output ports direct gas into the post combustor.
  • The system can comprise a central controller which may contain circuitry or software stored on computer readable media (such as RAM or optical media), and a microprocessor for allowing the controller to regulate the flow of oxygen containing streams throughout the system. For example, the software may cause the controller to change the speed of the advancer; controlling the flow rate of gas through a first and second gas splitter; and controlling the positioning of the valves in the first gas regulator. The software may also allow the controller to control various functions of certain system components such as gas splitters, flue gas splitter, the first and second gas regulators, gasifiers, and the advancer. In some embodiments these components may also comprise microprocessors, memory, and their own instruction sets as well. The software of the controller (or the regulators or both) may contain one or more sets of instructions for regulating and controlling the amount of oxygen in the ports entering the various components of the system (such as the first gasifier, the second gasifier, and the post combustor) thereby controlling the temperature and speed of the gasification and combustion of the refuse and gases, allowing the system to reduce the production of NOx or other undesirable byproducts, while also completing the gasification and combustion of the organic content of the refuse before it enters the bottom ash collector. For example, a first instruction of this instruction set may cause the controller to instruct a gas splitter to send gas having a low oxygen content (such as 5%-20% O2 by weight, preferably 5%-10%) to the first gasifier through a gas splitter. To do this, the controller (or gas splitter) may instruct a regulator to send recirculated gas through a port. To obtain the recirculated gas, the regulator (or controller) may cause the valve in the flue to partially open allowing flue gas to enter the port. A second instruction of this instruction set may cause the controller to instruct a gas splitter to send oxygen rich gas (such as 20-100% O2 by weight) to the second gasifier through the second gas splitter. To do this, the controller (or gas splitter) may instruct a gas source to direct gas into a gas splitter (or a gas splitter may open a valve allowing gas from the gas source to enter the gas splitter for example). The controller (or gas splitter) may also shut a valve connected to a port to prevent the flow of recirculated gas from the regulator (or the regulator may shut an appropriate valve in the flue for example.) A third instruction of this instruction set may cause the controller to instruct a regulator to monitor the temperature of the gases in the post combustor (the regulator may also monitor the oxygen content of the gases in the post combustor. Alternatively, the controller may be equipped with a sensor and may perform the monitoring directly.) If the temperature of the gases in the post combustor becomes higher than a predetermined value (such as 1000° C.) (or the oxygen content of the post combustor gases becomes higher than a predetermined value, such as 10% by volume, regulator may request regulator to send recirculated (low oxygen content) gas to the post combustor. If the temperature becomes lower than a predetermined value (such as 800° C.) (or the oxygen content of the post combustor gases becomes lower than a predetermined value, such as 1% by volume, the controller may request oxygen rich gas from a gas source be routed through the port through the regulators into the post combustor. (Alternatively, if the regulators comprise their own gas source, the regulator may use this gas source to provide the oxygen rich gas.) Additionally, the controller may also monitor the temperature or oxygen content of the gas in various locations of the post combustor. If a certain section of the post combustor has gas at too high or too low of a temperature (or too high or too low of a percentage of oxygen), a regulator may direct gas through a particular port to adjust the temperature (or oxygen content) of gas in that section of the post combustor. In some embodiments, a regulator may also be able to adjust the angle the ports make with the post combustor to increase the regulator's ability to control the temperature (or oxygen content) of gases in the post combustor. Also, the central controller may be able to control the rate of advancement of the refuse through the refuse advancer.
  • In addition to the above embodiments and their variants, a method for regulating gas and advancing refuse through a two stage refuse gasification combustion system is disclosed. The method may comprise the steps of: advancing the refuse into a first gasifier; processing the refuse at the first gasifier to generate volatiles in the first gasifier by directing the gas through the refuse; directing the gas and volatiles into a post combustor; combusting the gas and volatiles mixture in the post combustor; advancing the refuse into a second gasifier; processing the refuse in the second gasifier; directing gas from the second gasifier to a first gas regulator; and receiving gas from the first gas regulator and combusting the gas thereby producing heat and combustor gas.
  • The above method may comprise additional steps or some of the steps may have additional features. For example, the above method may comprise the step of receiving refuse at an input; advancing the refuse from the input to the first gasifier using an advancer; receiving gas at a first gas splitter; directing the gas from the first gas splitter through a first gas hopper to the first gasifier; receiving gas at a second gas splitter; and directing the gas from the second gas splitter through a second gas hopper to the second gasifier. The method may also comprise the step of collecting residual fly ash and particles with an ash collector and directing the residual fly ash and particles into the second gasifier. Also, the step of processing the refuse at the second gasifier may transform the refuse into bottom ash, heat, and gas. The method may incorporate advancing the bottom ash along the advancer into a bottom ash collector and directing the heat and gas into a first gas regulator. In an additional configuration, the method may require the steps of receiving gas at a first gas regulator from the second gasifier; receiving gas at the first gas regulator from a second gas regulator; and controlling the receipt of gas from the second gasifier and second gas regulator by adjusting one more internal valves. Also the method may entail: directing the combustor gas into a flue; controlling a valve controller to direct a valve to allow the combustor gas to escape the system or recirculate the gas back into the system; receiving gas from the flue and gas from the gas source at a second gas regulator; manipulating a valve to control how much gas from the flue and from the gas source flow through an output port; or directing gas into the first gas regulator by opening a valve in the output port of the second gas regulator.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
  • FIG. 1 is a forward view of an embodiment of the present invention wherein the gasifiers contain door ports.
  • FIG. 2 is a forward view of an embodiment of the present invention illustrating the gas flow through the system.
  • FIG. 3 is a forward view of an embodiment of the present invention wherein the gasifiers contain venting hood fans and no door ports.
  • FIG. 4 is a forward view of an embodiment of the present invention having one regulator.
  • FIG. 5 is a forward view of an embodiment of the present invention wherein the system comprises a drier and a combustor.
  • FIG. 6 is a forward view of an embodiment of the present invention wherein the system comprises a drier, a gasifier, and a combustor.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • FIG. 1 illustrates an embodiment of the present invention. The combustion gasification system (broadly denoted as element 50) comprises an input 101 for receiving refuse 1, a first gasifier 102, a second gasifier 103, and a post combustor 104. Refuse 1, trash, or waste may be placed into the input 101 through an input duct 100 containing an outer housing. The input 101 may comprise an opening formed by an outer housing for receiving the refuse. Processing of the refuse 1 typically begins in the first gasifier 102. Processing may include one or more of the following functions: drying, devolatilizing, gasification, or combustion. In some embodiments oil or other flammable substances may be added to the refuse 1 to facilitate combustion.
  • Once inside the input 101, the refuse 1 may be advanced through the system 50 by a refuse advancer 700. The refuse advancer 700 may take form of a hydraulic ram 300 and grate 701 as shown in FIG. 1, or a self-advancing advancer may be used. In other embodiments the advancer 700 can take the form of a cork screw advancer or a stoker for example. Additionally, gravity or magnetism may be used to advance the refuse 1. The refuse advancer 700 may extend through the first gasifier 102, the second gasifier 103, and into the bottom ash collector 107. The refuse advancer 700 may be positioned in a downward angle to facilitate the movement of the refuse forward through the first 102 and second gasifiers 103 where the refuse will be processed. In preferred embodiments, the refuse 1 will be completely or nearly completely processed by the time the refuse 1 reaches the bottom ash collector 107.
  • There are a number of ports, pipes, or ducts extending to and from the gasifiers. These ports (600-615) transport various gases and particles throughout the system 50. In some embodiments connectors (600′-615′ and 600″-615″) may be used to connect the ports 600-615 to various components of the system (such as the first gasifier 102 or the post combustor 104).
  • The first gasifier 102 has a first gasifier gas port 600 and gas connector 600′ and gas hoppers 610 and gas hopper connectors 610′. In some embodiments, each gasifier may contain as little as 1 gas hopper or as many as 10 or more gas hoppers with 3 or 4 gas hoppers being preferred. The gas port 600 is designed to receive volatile gases which are released when the refuse 1 is gasified. Molecules such as diatomic nitrogen, methane, diatomic hydrogen, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, water vapor, various other metallic and non-metallic compounds may be released depending on the composition of the refuse 1. The gas in port 600 is commonly called synthetic gas “syngas”, since it is a gas comprising carbon monoxide and hydrogen which is produced during the gasification of the refuse.
  • The gas hoppers 610 provide gas from the gas source 501 to the first gasifier 102 to control the gasification or burn rate of the refuse 1. In some embodiments this gas may take the form of atmospheric air, but other gas such as O2, CO2, and water vapor may be used alone or in combination with each other or other gases. The valves 408 and 409 can regulate how much gas goes into each hopper 610 and 611. Gas splitters 406 and 407 receive the gas from gas ports 603 and 602. Regulator 401, in some embodiments, can regulate the temperature, composition, and humidity of the gas. Additionally gas splitter 401 may regulate the flow rate of the gas through the gas ports 602 and 603. Gas source 501 may contain pressurized gas or may be a gas delivery machine such as a fan for example. Gas source 501 may receive the gas from an unshown supply, or may circulate atmospheric gas into the gas port 604. One or more of the regulators (403 & 400) may contain an air input which allows the regulators to insert gas from a gas supply or atmospheric gas to be entered into the system 50. The entire gas source assembly is broadly denoted as element 1000.
  • In the embodiment of FIG. 1, when the refuse reaches the end of the first gasifier 102, the first gasifier door port 200 will open, allowing the refuse to exit the first gasifier 102 and enter the second gasifier 103. As shown, the second gasifier also is connected to a series of gas hoppers 611 and gas hopper connectors 611′. Additionally, the second gasifier is connected to an ash port 601 and second gasifier gas port 605. Ash from the post combustor 104 may enter the second gasifier through the ash port 601 which contains connectors 601″ and 601′. Oxygen-containing gas may leave the second gasifier through the second gasifier gas port 605 which may be attached to the second gasifier 103 via gas port 605′. After a period of time, the refuse 1 will exit the gasifier through the second gasifier door port 202 where the refuse will be transported to the bottom ash collector 107. FIG. 3 shows an alternative embodiment of the system 50, wherein the gasifiers do not contain door ports 200 and 202. In order to help direct the gas upward into the post combustor, the gasifiers may utilize sloped top portions 102′ and 103′ which may function in conjunction with optional venting hood fans 800 and 801. (The first and second gasifier may also comprise faces such as a sidewall, frontwall, backwall, and a bottom portion.) The top of the gasifiers may be partially sloped so that a top portion 102″ and 103″ is formed, or the sloped top portions 102′ and 103′ may connect directly (not shown). The venting hood fans 800 and 801 may suck gas from the gasifiers 102 and 103 and direct the gas into ports 600 and 605. Although not shown in FIG. 1, the embodiment shown in FIG. 1 may be optionally constructed with venting hood fans to assist in transferring the gas from the gasifiers into the post combustor 104.
  • Returning to FIG. 1, the bottom ash collector 107 is responsible for collecting any materials which are still on the advancer 700. These materials may include any materials which did not gasify or combust in the first and second gasifiers. The bottom ash collector 107 may contain a repository 108 which stores the collected materials. In some embodiments the repository 108 may be integral with the bottom ash collector 107 or in other embodiments as shown, the repository 108 may be a separate part connected by way of an ash collector port 612 and connector 612′.
  • The post combustor 104 may receive volatiles and syngas from the first gasifier 102 through the first gasifier port 600. The post combustor 104 may mix these volatiles with oxygen-containing gas from the upper port 609 and side ports 607 and 608. The gas entering the post combustor 104 from the first gasifier 102 may be at a very high temperature which may increase the formation of nitrous oxide “NOx” when combusted. By controlling mixing of various gases in the post combustor, the first gas regulator 400 can lower the temperature of the combustion thereby creating less NOx. Lowering the production of NOx is desirable since NOx is highly toxic and can potentially damage human health. Gas regulator 400 can regulate how much gas flows into ports 608, 609, and 607 and how much gas flows from ports 605 and 615, by controlling various internal valves. Structurally, the post combustor 104 may comprise a substantially rectangular shape such as a rectangular prism or may comprise a more cylindrical shape. The post combustor may comprise six or more faces: such as a sidewall, a frontwall, a backwall, a bottom portion and a top portion. One or more output ports of the first gas regulator may attach to one of these faces. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 3, output port 608 attaches to a lower portion of the sidewall of the combustor 104, output port 607 attaches to an upper portion of the sidewall of the combustor 104, and output port 609 attaches to a top portion of the post combustor 104.
  • Gas regulators 400 and 403 may comprise a microprocessor and control software which enables the regulators to control the opening and closing of internal valves. In some embodiments, the regulator may be able to partially open and close the valves. Gas regulators 400 and 403 may comprise a gas source similar to gas source 501, which may include compressed gas or a gas movement device such as a fan. This gas source may be a source of air, water vapor, O2, CO2, N2, and other gases. Regulators 400 and 403 may have a sensor which can determine the temperature of gas in the post combustor 104, ports 605, 615, and 600. Regulator 400 may contain an adjuster for adjusting the amount of gas flowing into the post combustor 104, and may be able to adjust the angle in which ports expel gas into the post combustor. For example, any of the ports may be equipped with an adjustable nozzle which can affect the direction of the gas flow.
  • Central controller 402 may contain software stored on computer readable media (such as RAM or optical media), and a microprocessor for allowing the controller to regulate the flow of oxygen containing streams throughout the system. The software may allow the controller 402 to control various functions of certain system components such as gas splitters 401, 406 and 407, flue gas splitter 405, the first and second gas regulators 400 and 403, gasifiers 102 and 103, and the advancer 700. In some embodiments these components may also comprise microprocessors, memory, and their own instruction sets as well. The software of the controller (or the regulators or both) may contain one or more set of instructions for regulating and controlling the amount of oxygen in the ports entering the various components of the system (such as the first gasifier 102, the second gasifier 103, and the post combustor 104) thereby controlling the temperature and speed of the gasification and combustion of the refuse and gases, allowing the system to reduce the production of NOx, or other undesirable byproducts, while also completing the gasification and combustion of the organic content of the refuse before it enters the bottom ash collector 107. For example, a first instruction of this instruction set may cause the controller 402 to instruct gas splitter 401 to send gas having a low oxygen content (such as 5%-20% O2 by weight, preferably 5%-10%) to the first gasifier through gas splitter 406. To do this, controller 402 (or gas splitter 401) may instruct regulator 403 to send recirculated gas through port 606A. To obtain the recirculated gas, the regulator 403 (or controller 402) may cause the valve 405 in the flue 109 to partially open allowing flue gas to enter port 614. A second instruction of this instruction set may cause the controller 402 to instruct gas splitter 401 to send oxygen rich gas (such as 20-100% O2 by weight) to the second gasifier 103 through the second gas splitter 407. To do this, controller 402 (or gas splitter 401) may instruct gas source 501 to direct gas into gas splitter 401 (or gas splitter 401 may open a valve allowing gas from gas source 501 to enter gas splitter 401 for example). Controller 402 (or gas splitter 401) may also shut a valve connected to port 606A to prevent the flow of recirculated gas from regulator 403 (or regulator 403 may shut an appropriate valve in the flue 109 for example.) A third instruction of this instruction set may cause the controller 402 to instruct regulator 400 to monitor the temperature of the gases in the post combustor 104 (regulator 400 may also monitor the oxygen content of the gases in the post combustor 104. Alternatively, controller 402 may be equipped with a sensor and may perform the monitoring directly.) If the temperature of the gases in the post combustor 104 becomes higher than a predetermined value (such as 1000° C.) (or the oxygen content of the post combustor gases becomes higher than a predetermined value, such as 10% by volume, regulator 400 may request regulator 403 to send recirculated (low oxygen content) gas to the post combustor 104. If the temperature becomes lower than a predetermined value (such as 800° C.) (or the oxygen content of the post combustor gases becomes lower than a predetermined value, such as 1% by volume, controller 402 may request oxygen rich gas from gas source 501 be routed through the port 606A through the regulators 403 and 400 into the post combustor. (Alternatively if regulators 400 or 403 comprise their own gas source, the regulator may use this gas source to provide the oxygen rich gas.) Additionally, controller 402 may also monitor the temperature or oxygen content of the gas in various locations of the post combustor 104. If a certain section of the post combustor 104 has gas at too high or too low of a temperature (or too high or too low of a percentage of oxygen), regulator 400 may direct gas through a particular port 607, 608, or 609 to adjust the temperature (or oxygen content) of gas in that section of the post combustor. In some embodiments, regulator 400 may also be able to adjust the angle at which ports 607, 608, and 609 make with the post combustor 104 to increase the regulator's ability to control the temperature (or oxygen content) of gases in the post combustor. Also, the central controller 402 may be able to control the rate of advancement of the refuse 1 through the refuse advancer 700.
  • In some embodiments, an ash collector 105 may be attached to the bottom of the post combustor 104. The ash collector 105 may be used to collect fly ash or heavy weight particles that are created during gasification or combustion. The ash collector 105 may be aided by the downward flow of air from the top gas port 609. The downward gas flow may cause the fly ash or other heavy weight particles downward through the post combustor 104 into the ash collector 105. The ash collector 105 may be cone shaped or cyclone shaped. The ash collector may be designed to collect the fly ash and other particles in the center of collector 105 and flow downward, or form slag on the walls of the collector 105 and flow downward. Ash collector 105 may be connected to the second gasifier 103 through second gasifier port 601 and may have connectors 601″ and 601′.
  • The post combustor 104 may also include a flue 109 that permits gas to leave the post combustor 104 through a flue escape port 617. Alternatively, gas may be rerouted through the system 50 through the flue gas return regulator 403, which may send the gas to regulator 400 or gas source 501. Additionally, the flue 109 may have a valve 405 and valve controller which controls the distribution of gas flow between ports 617 and 614. The valve 405 may be controlled by a servo magnetic controller or another mechanical, hydraulic, magnetic, or electric controller which can cause the valve to open or close. In some embodiments the valve 405 may be partially opened or closed. The valve may be operable to allow all of the gas exiting the post combustor 104 to escape the system, or to recirculate some of the gas to regulator 403. As shown, port 615 transfers gas to regulator 400, port 606A transfers gas from gas splitter 401 to regulator 403, and port 606B transfers gas from regulator 403 to gas splitter 401. Each port 614, 615, and 606 may have their own connectors 614′, 615′, 615″, 606A′, 606B′, 606A″and 606B″ as well. The regulators 400 and 403 may be able to open and close optional valves in these ports as well. Flue gas regulator 403 may be linked with controller 402 and regulator 400 as well. Gas regulator 403 may comprise a controller to control the position of the flue valve, to regulate how much gas from the flue and the gas source flows through gas port 615. As shown in FIG. 4, one regulator 401 may perform the functions of regulators 403 and 400.
  • As shown in FIG. 5, high moisture waste may enter the system through an input duct 100 where it is delivered to a drier 112 by a ram 300. While on the grate 701 and enclosed by the drier 112, the refuse may be dried by under grate gas delivered by gas hopper 410. The drier itself may be a refractory lined chamber which may or may not contain internal waterfalls (used for cooling.) In some embodiments the under grate gas is preheated to 230° C. by a gas source 501 or is heated by a previous combustion reaction. An upper suction fan 800 may suck gas out of the drier 112 and deliver it through port 600 to regulator 400. This gas may be delivered to a combustor 104′ through a number of ports 605, 606, and 607, or it may be delivered to regulator 403. Regulator 403 may accept gas from regulator 400 and also from gas source 501. In some embodiments (see FIG. 6), the system may comprise multiple gas sources or (as shown in FIG. 5), the system may have a port extending from a single gas source to multiple locations. In some embodiments, the gas delivered to the drier 112 will be uniform, but in other embodiments this may not be the case because the gas (air) should be reasonably distributed according to different conditions. In FIG. 5, no overhead gas is delivered to the refuse because there is no need to have strong turbulence for the drying process.
  • In some configurations, the gas hopper 406 will deliver more gas to the drier 112, than the suction fan 800 will withdraw. This may create pressure in the drier 112. In some cases the additional air pressure may be desirable to prevent flames from entering the drying zone from the combustion zone. In FIG. 5, there may be a portal in between the drier 112 and the combustor 104′. The size of this portal is set to allow enough radiation to dry the refuse but not initiate combustion. Similarly for FIG. 6, a portal may exist in between the drier 112 and a gasifer 113.
  • Controller 402 may contain a heat monitoring tool which may be embodied as circuitry or software for causing the controller 402 (aided by one or more sensors in the gasifier 113 and/or post combustor 104) to monitor the heat and/or heat flux in the post combustor 104 or gasifier 113. If the heat becomes too high the refuse in the drier 112 may begin to combust. The drier has a normal temperature operating range of 10˜300° C., and adding excess heat to the drier may cause volatilization of the refuse in the drier. Formation of volatiles in the drier and port 600 may damage system and/or fan 800. To help control the formation of these volatiles, the software or circuitry in the controller 402 may lower the flame in the post combustor using a flame controller. The software or the circuitry can also monitor how much water vapor (from the drier gas flow) is being ported into the post combustor through controller 400 and ports 606-607. If the water vapor is dowsing the flames inside the post combustor too much (putting out the fire), the controller 402 or regulator 400 can change the gas to water vapor ratio being ported into the post combustor 104. By lowering the amount of water vapor coming from the drier 112 (through port 600) regulator 400 can control how much water vapor enters the post combustor 104. For example, if there is too much water vapor in the post combustor 104, the regulator 400 (or controller 402) can reduce the gas flow rate of the under grate gas emanating from gas source (501/502), and/or restrict valves in the ports 600 to slow the amount of gas entering the post combustor from the drier. Alternatively, the regulator 400 can increase the amount of gas entering from gas source (501/502) to increase the amount of low water vapor gas.
  • In FIG. 6, the regulator 400 can direct gas having high amounts of water vapor into the post combustor 104 through ports 616. Additionally, regulator 400 can also direct gas into gasifier 113 through port 617.
  • In embodiments featuring a drier 112, once the refuse has passed through the drier 112, the refuse can be combusted (FIG. 5) or gasified (FIG. 6). The gasifier 113 or combustor 104′ can be a refractory lined chamber (one which has a high melting point) or waterfalls may be used. In contrast to the drier 112, the temperature in the gasifier 113 and combustor 104′ will be higher—approximately 600 to 1200° C. The gas hopper 611 may direct air into the combustor 104′ or gasifier 113. In some embodiments, the gas hopper 611 may direct more oxygen than necessary into the combustor 104′ to reduce the amount of gas circulation necessary to complete the combustion. In embodiments featuring a gasifer 113, the gas hopper 611 may direct less oxygen than necessary for complete burning so that syngas may be formed and directed into the post combustor 104. In FIGS. 5 and 6, the bottom ash may be collected with a bottom ash collector 107.
  • The post combustor of FIGS. 1, 3, 4, and 6 and the combustor of FIG. 5 all feature one or more gas flows for adding air to the post combustor or combustor respectively. Gas which comes directly from gas source 501 into the bottom of the post combustor 104 or combustor 104′ is called primary gas flow. Similarly under grate gas (under fire gas) from the gas hoppers 610 and 611 is primary gas flow. Gas which comes through port 600, gas source 502, a gasifier, or the drier 112 is secondary gas flow. Gas which is fed into the top portion of the post combustor 104 or combustor 104′ is called tertiary gas flow. In some embodiments, gas from the gas source (501 and/or 502), drier, and/or gasifier 102/113 may be directed into the post combustor or combustor at various locations and angles to control and distribute gas flow within the post combustor 104 or combustor 104′. In one embodiment, two nozzles may be attached to a front wall of the post combustor 104 or combustor 104′, and two nozzles may be attached to a rear wall of the post combustor 104 or combustor 104′. If the nozzles are positioned so that they are offset vertically from each other, the combined forces of the gases being directed by nozzles can cause the gas inside the post combustor 104 or combustor 104′ to swirl. That is, the nozzles can create a gas swirl or swirling action of the gases inside the post combustor 104 or combustor 104′. In FIG. 5 for example, the regulator 403, and set of nozzles and ports (604 and 608) form a tertiary gas flow, and these nozzles and ports may be offset to form a gas swirl as well. Thus, some embodiments of the invention may feature two gas swirls, one from the secondary gas flow (in the bottom of the post combustor 104 or combustor 104′), and one in the tertiary gas flow (in the top of the post combustor 104 or combustor 104′). Certain configurations of the disclosed system may be successful in reducing fly ash as compared to an equivalent system not utilizing a drier.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates a process flow of the gas through the system 50. Although labeled sequentially, many of the following steps may be performed in a different order or may be performed simultaneously with another step. Step 1, gas enters the system through gas source 501 where it passes through gas port 604 which is connected by connectors 604′ and 604″ to gas splitter 401. Step 2, gas splitter 401 can split or portion the gas to gas splitters 406 and 407. As shown in step 13, gas splitter 401 can also receive gas from regulator 403, and can send gas to regulator 403 as shown in step 12. Regulators 403 and 400 or controller 402 may be able to modify how the gas is split between the gas splitters. Step 3, valves 408 and 409 can modify how much gas goes into gas hoppers 610 and 611. Valves 408 and 409 may be controlled by the gas splitters or by any of the regulators or controllers. Step 4, once inside the first gasifier 102, the gas mixes with the gas in the first gasifier. Additionally, the gas gasifies the refuse, thereby producing a gas which flows through gasification port 600. Step 5, gases from gas hoppers 611 flow into the second gasifier where they gasify and combust the refuse in the second gasifier 103. The resulting gases flow up through the second gasifier port 605. Step 6, ash from ash collector 105 may flow through port 601 into the second gasifier 103. Step 7, gas in the second gasifier gas port 605 may be mixed with new gas from the gas source of regulator 400. Regulator 400 may contain its own gas or have access to gas external to the system 50. Step 8, gas source may also receive recirculated flue gas from port 615. Step 9, gas source may send gas through gas port 606 where it enters regulator 403. Regulator 400 can select how much gas to send to the top or side gas ports 607, 608, and 609. The top 609 and side gas ports 607, 608 send gas to the post combustor 104. Step 10, gas is released up through flue port 613 into the flue 109, and heavier weight particles settle in ash collector 105. The flue may be controlled through a valve 405 which can also be controlled by any of the regulators or controllers. The valve 405 either allows the flue gas to escape through the flue gas escape 617 and/or it may direct flue gas through the flue gas return port 614, step 11. Flue gas return regulator 403 can send gas to either the regulator 400 or gas source 501 through gas ports 615 (step 8) or 606B (step 13).
  • It is hereby claimed:

Claims (14)

  1. 1. A high moisture refuse combustion system for processing high moisture refuse, said system comprising: an advancer, a drier, a first gas regulator, and a combustor:
    a. said advancer extending from the drier to the combustor for moving the refuse from the drier to the combustor;
    b. said combustor comprising a connection to the drier; and
    c. said first gas regulator comprising: an input port for receiving gas, an output port for outputting gas, valves for regulating gas flow in the system, and control circuitry or software to allow the regulator to control opening and closing of the valves which regulate how much gas flows into the input port and how much gas flows out of the output port.
  2. 2. The system of claim 1 wherein the first gas regulator comprises a plurality of input and output ports including:
    a. a first input port for receiving gas from a gas source;
    b. a second input port for receiving gas from the drier;
    c. a first output port for directing gas into a first sidewall of the combustor;
    d. a second output port for directing gas into a second sidewall of the combustor; and
    e. a third output port for directing gas into a second gas regulator.
  3. 3. The system of claim 1 comprising a gas source for supplying the first gas regulator with gas, a first gas hopper for supplying the drier with gas, and a second gas hopper for supplying the combustor with gas.
  4. 4. The system of claim 1 comprising a port for receiving gas from the drier; said port being connected to the drier and the first gas regulator.
  5. 5. The system of claim 1 comprising a second gas regulator for directing tertiary gas into the combustor.
  6. 6. The system of claim 1 wherein a plurality of output ports are connected to the first gas regulator; said output ports being connected to the combustor, and offset from one another to form a swirl of gas inside the combustor to increase the combustion speed of refuse in the combustor.
  7. 7. The system of claim 1 wherein a plurality of output ports are connected to a second gas regulator; said output ports being connected to the combustor, and offset from one another to form a swirl of gas inside the combustor to increase the combustion speed of refuse in the combustor.
  8. 8. The system of claim 1 wherein the system does not comprise a gasifier.
  9. 9. A process for processing high moisture refuse, said process comprising the steps of:
    a. moving the refuse from a drier to a combustor;
    b. directing gas to flow into the refuse;
    c. drying the refuse with the gas;
    d. directing the gas into a first gas regulator;
    e. moving the refuse into the combustor;
    f. directing high moisture gas via the first gas regulator into the combustor; and
    g. burning the refuse in the combustor.
  10. 10. The process of claim 9 comprising the steps of:
    a. directing gas from a gas source into a first gas hopper;
    b. directing gas from the first gas hopper into the drier;
    c. directing gas from the gas source into a second gas hopper; and
    d. directing gas from the second gas hopper into the combustor.
  11. 11. The process of claim 9 comprising the steps of:
    a. directing gas from the drier into the first gas regulator;
    b. directing gas from a gas source into the first gas regulator;
    c. directing a combination of gas from the drier and gas from the gas source into the combustor through a plurality of ports.
  12. 12. The process of claim 9 comprising the step of forming a swirl of gas inside the combustor.
  13. 13. The process of claim 9 comprising the step of forming two separate swirls of gas inside the combustor.
  14. 14. The process of claim 9 comprising the steps of:
    a. directing gas from the first gas regulator into a second gas regulator; and
    b. directing the second gas regulator to direct tertiary gas flow into the combustor.
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