Design a biomass boiler burner suitable for the combustion of low-cost, low-quality biomass.
The wood pellet market is booming in France. Manufacturers must invest massively to keep
up with demand, expected to reach 80 million tons annually by 2020. But two other challenges will also need to be overcome in the medium term. The first is not enough raw material (wood); and the second is longer and more expensive transportation to get biomass where it is needed. The solution lies in finding unusual new sources of biomass available locally. Residues from grain crops, winegrowing, and by products from agricultural storage silos all offer potential
The BioSwirl burner, which has been sold by
Leroux & Lotz Technologies since 2010, is ideal,
both for new biomass boilers and for converting
traditional natural gas, oil, and coal boilers into
However, unusual sources of biomass (biomass rich in inorganic matter and ash with low fusion temperatures) are not compatible with the burner. These materials cause ash to build up in
the burner, lowering yields, creating additional maintenance costs, and increasing emissions of gases like NOx. The Bambi project set out to
develop a new generation of BioSwirl burner suitable for use with these types of biomass. The Bambi project leveraged a technology acquired by Leroux & Lotz Technologies to develop a new generation of compact, low-NOx-emission burners offering low installation and operating costs.
- Identifying and preparing various unusual types of readily-available biomass suitable for conversion into energy
- Studying the interactions between the biomass and the refractory material so that
the refractory material could be designed to boost burner uptime and reduce maintenance
- Drawing up the specifi cations for an enhanced multi-fuel burner to prepare for the launch of the new-generation burner
- Designing an innovative prototype to be used to study the behavior of unusual types of biomass
- Implementing a test burner at an end user’s facility to validate the prototype at an industrial scale
Researchers from CEA Tech institute Liten specializing in the thermochemical gasifi cation
of lignocellulosic biomass also worked on the project, assessing the environmental performance of the burner itself as well as that of the diff erent types of biomass tested. The results for both CO2 and SO2 emissions were very good.
A 150kW test reactor was set up at project partner Veri’s premises to test the feasibility of the new burner. Some major improvements were made. First, the reactor got a larger combustion chamber and longer biomass combustion at a lower temperature (900 °C instead of 1,000 °C). The testing also led to additional changes to the specifications, including the grinding stage (the particle size was reduced). RAGT Energie’s
agropellets proved to be particularly eff ective during the tests. Leroux & Lotz Technologies now has a database of the kinetics of certain types of biomass— information that will be crucial to the company’s
industrial scale-up strategy. The company also filed a patent to protect the burner temperature control system, which uses non-intrusive external methods, to further establish its international reputation.
The work begun under the Bambi project will continue: a demonstrator system will be built by retrofi tting a 3 MWth–5 MWth fossil-fuelbased boiler. Overall, the project anchored Leroux & Lotz Technologies as a solid contender to lead Europe’s 1 MWth–100 MWth biomass-boiler market. More broadly, the project rounded out
other technological innovations focusing on specifi c agro-resources and helped promote strategies—reprocessing of materials, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, use of locally-available resources—aligned with sustainable development goals.
The French Single Interministerial Fund, Isère General Council, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Regional Council.