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DOE Sponsors Research into CFD for Blast Furnace Ironmaking
Posted Fri November 02, 2007 @09:41AM
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News Pulverized coal injection (PCI) for blast furnace ironmaking has become widely used in North America to improve furnace operating efficiencies. In the PCI process, fine granules of coal are blown into the furnace in large volumes, partially replacing coke, which is expensive and environmentally hazardous to produce and handle.

But, there are still unknown aspects to the PCI process, and a new study has been initiated by the U.S. Dept. of Energy under its Industrial Technologies Program to discover more about the process and how it alters the efficiencies of blast furnaces.

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As the volume of coal injected into the BF increases, the ITP explains, the permeability of the solid materials charged into the furnace, along with the gas distribution throughout the chamber, will alter the BF’s productivity and stability. Measuring the BF’s gas distribution is difficult, but the activity can be modeled using high-fidelity, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) numerical simulations. Those models will be a major product of this project.

Three-dimensional modeling of the blast-furnace/PCI process has been attempted, but this project will introduce a comprehensive BF model that includes fluid flow and chemical kinetics. The resulting CFD models for blast furnaces will be “a significant technological leap for the steel industry in the U.S., and will enable metallurgical coke use and carbon emissions to be minimized,” according to DOE.

The research plan proposes a CFD model focused on the complex physical and chemical reactions taking place in the the upper part of the BF. Specifically, the model would be used to investigate the impact of key operating and design parameters, and to identify ways to maximize gas utilization and fuel efficiency, and to minimize environmental emissions.

To date, the project has completed an initial market study of North America’s blast furnace operations, and plans to implement the CFD technology at furnaces operated by the project partners — Dofasco, Mittal Steel USA, and Severstal N.A. Other blast furnaces will be added to the implementation list within five years, after which time a final marketing and “technology transfer” plan will be developed.

In addition to the steelmakers and DOE, the project partners include the American Iron and Steel Institute and Purdue University Calumet, Calumet, IN.

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