There has been a recent worldwide upsurge in Co-firing of biomass with coal to reduce CO2 emissions. The disparate quality of biomass, however, poses a challenge for selection for a given power plant, which can involve considerable time and money in terms of test firing of various fuel mixtures.

Web-based software-SCBES (Steam Coal Biomass Evaluation & Services) based on the fundamental properties of combustion and mineral matter transformation has recently been in use, for which the only input required is the standard fuel and ash properties. This tool almost instantaneously benchmarks the propensities of all fuel related parameters involved in firing any coal/biomass blend or 100% biomass.

These include grindability, abrasion, combustion including carbon in ash, erosion, corrosion and emission of particulates, oxides of sulfur & nitrogen.

The software enables the operator to compare individual biomass samples/mixtures for their compatibility with the coal in use in any plant. The main advantage is that design and operational data of the plant in question are not required. The program rapidly provides the plant with a short list of "nearbest" biomass mixtures without the need for wholesale test burning biomass samples, saving the Plant significant time and money.

The paper describes the development of the software, its successful application on world coals and its extension to co-firing with biomass and discusses several case studies of co-firing of hardwood, bagasse, tire, etc, with world traded coals. These case histories demonstrate the capability of the software as a design and operational tool in determining the optimum biomass quality and quantity for co-firing with coal while maintaining the bottom line revenue under emission compliance.

The use of the software is equally applicable as an aid for the design & operation of 100% biomass fired plant or conversion of a coal fired plant to fire biomass.

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