In a current research and development program a coal-fired atmospheric fluidized bed combustor is being designed to supply the heat to a closed cycle gas turbine cogeneration system. The major technical effort is directed towards the design of the in-bed heat exchanger, which is required to operate near bed temperature. This high temperature (850° C) exposes the heat exchanger tubes to potentially severe sulfidation. The corrosion behavior depends upon the intimate details of the bed environment and may be related to the occurrence of localized areas of low oxygen partial pressure and high sulfur partial pressure. This paper describes a series of measurements of oxygen partial pressure at various locations within a fluidized bed. The bed, containing densely packed heat exchanger tubes, was operated under various conditions to observe the effect of coal mixing and devolatilization on local oxygen activity. Substantial variations of oxygen partial pressure (below 10−14 atmospheres) were observed. It was noted that these locally severe variations could be substantially modified by changes in coal mixing (as through coal port design). The experiments with varying coal size suggest that rapid devolatilization is desirable and would reduce the extent of locally corrosive environments.

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