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The innovative design of air caps for improving the thermal efficiency of CFB boilers.

Liu, Xiaozhou; Zhu, Guangyu; Asim, Taimoor; Zhang, Yu; Mishra, Rakesh


Xiaozhou Liu

Guangyu Zhu

Yu Zhang

Rakesh Mishra


Air caps are an effective way of ensuring uniformity of air flow in Circulating Fluidized Bed (CFB) boilers. Published literature on the design and configuration of these air caps is severely limited. In this study, extensive theoretical as well as experimental investigations have been carried out to design novel air caps in order to improve efficiency of CFB boilers. A small-scale test bench of 220 t/h CFB boiler has been developed, integrated with novel air caps. It has been observed that inhomogeneity in air flow velocity decreases from 65.79% to 21.25%, while the pressure drop decreases by 20%. A mathematic model of air caps has been derived and its accuracy verified through cold tests. Two empirical correlations for calculating the pressure drop and the air jet penetration length of the novel air caps have been obtained and verified. Finally, in order to validate the innovative design of air caps, this methodology has been implemented to a full-scale 220 t/h CFB boiler. The hot test results depict that the thermal efficiency of the boiler has increased from 86.4% to 91.8% when tested with the novel air caps in-place, which is equivalent to a saving of 6000 tons of coal per year.


LIU, X., ZHU, G., ASIM, T., ZHANG, Y. and MISHRA, R. 2021. The innovative design of air caps for improving the thermal efficiency of CFB boilers. Energy [online], 221, article ID 119844. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 9, 2021
Online Publication Date Jan 16, 2021
Publication Date Apr 15, 2021
Deposit Date Jan 14, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jan 17, 2022
Journal Energy
Print ISSN 0360-5442
Electronic ISSN 1873-6785
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 221
Article Number 119844
Keywords Circulating Fluidized Bed (CFB); Flow uniformity; Mathematic model; Velocity Distribution; Hot test; Error analysis
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