Title:
Method and apparatus for sulfur trioxide flue gas conditioning
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method and apparatus for sulfur trioxide conditioning of flue gas, to assist in the removal of flyash from flue gas exhaust streams containing such flyash. More particularly, such a method and apparatus, which introduces an improvement in the transportation of dry sulfur and the melting and storage of resultant melted sulfur. The melted sulfur is subsequently burned and thereafter catalytically converted to sulfur trioxide for injection into a flue gas for such aforesaid assistance in the removal of flyash therefrom.



Inventors:
Ferrigan, James J. (Leawood, KS, US)
Application Number:
10/346008
Publication Date:
07/31/2003
Filing Date:
01/16/2003
Assignee:
FERRIGAN JAMES J.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
95/60, 96/18, 431/11
International Classes:
F23J15/00; F23J15/02; (IPC1-7): F23J15/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090148798Method for Starting a Combustion Device Under Unknown Basic ConditionsJune, 2009Geiger et al.
20050239009Sound-producing candle assemblyOctober, 2005Holmburg
20040209212Low gas flow in-line orifice assemblyOctober, 2004Schmidt
20090239185Power production using grain fractionation productsSeptember, 2009Deline et al.
20090224068Ignition System for a Pulse Fog GeneratorSeptember, 2009Roudebush et al.
20050095547Burner assembly and cooktop including sameMay, 2005Pottenger et al.
20090214994Device for Igniting and Kindling a FireplaceAugust, 2009Gdynia
20080085484Lighter Extension DeviceApril, 2008Tornquist
20070105061Multiple burner arrangement for operating a combustion chamber, and method for operating the multiple burner arrangementMay, 2007Flohr et al.
20100015561Candle holder with heat deflecting shieldJanuary, 2010Mcguigan et al.
20080227044Metal Foam Radiant BurnerSeptember, 2008Cookson et al.



Primary Examiner:
HERTZOG, ARDITH E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Howard E. Sandler, Esq. (Lake Forest, CA, US)
Claims:
1. In a sulfur trioxide conditioning apparatus wherein heated air flows from an inlet to an outlet, and from such outlet into a flue for conditioning of flue gases containing flyash by injecting a controlled amount of sulfur trioxide gaseous mixture to vary the electrical resistivity of such flyash, such heated air flow, as it flows from such inlet to such outlet, passes first through a burner means for burning elemental sulfur to produce an air and sulfur dioxide mixture and thereafter through a conversion means to produce a mixture containing air and sulfur trioxide for use in the conditioning of such flue gases, the improvement comprising: an on-site storage assembly for the storage of solid sulfur; first conveying means for conveying such solid sulfur to a second on-site storage assembly; said second on-site storage assembly including a melter means incorporated therein to melt such solid sulfur conveyed thereto to molten sulfur and also being adapted to store such molten sulfur therein at a temperature above the freezing point thereof; and second conveying means being operative to selectively convey variable amounts of such molten sulfur from said second on-site storage assembly to said sulfur burner, in response to signals indicative of sulfur trioxide conditioning demand.

2. A sulfur trioxide conditioning apparatus as specified in claim 1 wherein said first conveying means is selectively operable to transfer a predetermined batch of solid sulfur to said second on-site storage assembly.

3. A sulfur trioxide conditioning apparatus as specified in claim 2, wherein such first conveying means is selectively operable is response to a transfer demand signal indicative of the volume of sulfur contained within said second storage assembly.

4. A sulfur trioxide conditioning apparatus as specified in claim 2 wherein the predetermined batch of solid sulfur is at least a one days supply of sulfur required for such sulfur trioxide conditioning.

5. In a method for producing an air and sulfur trioxide conditioning mixture by burning elemental sulfur in heated air to produce an air and sulfur dioxide flow, passing such flow through a catalytic converter to produce such a conditioning mixture for downstream use, the improvement comprising: storing solid sulfur at a location upstream of such burning; receiving a signal indicative of the requirements for solid sulfur and, in response thererto, transporting such stored solid sulfur from storage; melting such transported solid sulfur to form molten sulfur; storing such molten sulfur; and selectively transporting such molten sulfur for such aforesaid burning and catalytic conversion.

6. A method as specified in claim 5 including the additional step of: injecting such conditioning mixture into a flue gas stream containing flyash, for the conditioning of such flue gases to assist in the removal of such flyash therefrom, by electrostatic precipitation.

7. A method of conditioning as specified in claim 5 wherein such solid sulfur is transferred from storage on a predetermined batch basis.

8. A sulfur trioxide conditioning apparatus as specified in claim 7 wherein the predetermined batch of solid sulfur transferred is at least a one days supply of sulfur required to assist in such flyash removal.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] Known systems for removing fly ash from the flue gases of fossil fuel combustion, for example coal, often include an electrostatic precipitator. The fly ash arresting capability of an electrostatic precipitator may depend upon numerous variables, not the least of which is the surface resistivity of the ash. It is well known that a high sulfur content in coal favorably influences fly ash precipitation by reducing the surface resistivity of the ash. However, when coal with a sulfur content of less than 1% is burned in a boiler, the combustion often does not form sufficient sulfur trioxide to reduce the resistivity of the fly ash to a level at which an electrostatic precipitator can function efficiently (approximately 5 times 10 to the 10th power ohm-cm).

[0002] As an amplification of the above, substantially the entire sulfur content of coal, which may vary from less than 1% to approximately 6%, oxidizes to sulfur dioxide during combustion of the coal, and from 1% and 5% of such sulfur dioxide further oxidizes to sulfur trioxide. Typically, after combustion, the sulfur trioxide component of the flue gases combines with entrained moisture to form sulfuric acid which then condenses on the fly ash particulate as the flue gases cool. The sulfuric acid which condenses on the fly ash particulate generally dictates the electrical resistivity of such particulate. Thus, in instances where low sulfur coal is burned in the boiler, only relatively small quantities of sulfuric acid are generated and, hence, the electrical resistivity of the fly ash is relatively high. Accordingly, when burning low sulfur coal, collecting efficiency of the electrostatic precipitator may be degraded considerably, particularly in instances where the precipitator is designed to receive flue gases at temperatures corresponding generally to normal stack exit temperatures (i.e., 250 degree F. to 320 degree F.).

[0003] Various systems have been developed in attempts to rectify the problems of high resistivity fly ash removal by electrostatic precipitators. Examples of such alternative systems have included utilizing: hot-side precipitators; enlarged cold side precipitators; bag houses; or flue gas conditioning in conjunction with smaller ESPs. In many instances experience has shown that the use of flue gas conditioning is the most satisfactory solution in terms of reliability, efficiency, cost, space requirements and versatility.

[0004] In those instances of flue gas conditioning systems, the gas conditioning means and the method of the type illustrated in U.S. Pat. No. 3,993,429 has proved to be an overwhelming success. For purposes of background the entire content of said U.S. Pat. No. 3,993,429 is hereby incorporated herein and made a part hereof by reference. In these and other systems, a controlled trace amount of sulfur trioxide is injected into the flue gas stream intermediate the boiler and the electrostatic precipitator to thus bring the surface resistivity of the fly ash into the desired range for efficient collection thereof by the precipitator.

[0005] Sulfur trioxide is an extremely dangerous and expensive chemical to purchase, transport and store. As such, the sulfur trioxide systems used for flue gas conditioning (FGC) manufacture gaseous sulfur trioxide on site, starting with either a source of sulfur (which is burned to produce sulfur dioxide), or a source of stored sulfur dioxide. The sulfur dioxide is then passed through a catalytic converter in a known manner to produce the required gaseous sulfur trioxide conditioning agent. From a practical standpoint, FGC systems which start with an on-site sulfur dioxide source are used very little because of the expense of the sulfur dioxide, and the precautions necessary in handling and storing large quantities of this chemical. Accordingly, the vast majority of FGC systems of the type discussed herein all start with a basic sulfur feedstock.

[0006] Sulfur feedstock for use in FGC systems was generally universally provided in molten sulfur form. The molten sulfur was transported via truck or rail, and then unloaded into on-site heated storage facilities. The molten sulfur was metered into a sulfur burner portion of the FGC system on a demand basis, and burned to form sulfur dioxide, which was then catalytically converted into sulfur trioxide to provide the requisite conditioning agent. While a molten sulfur feedstock was used in the majority of the prior art FGC systems, subsequent considerations indicated that, in some circumstances, the sulfur feedstock might be better supplied in a dry sulfur form. In such latter instances it was felt that: dry sulfur is easier and safer to handle; the difficulties and expenses associated with unloading of molten sulfur could be avoided; and in certain circumstances (i.e. seasonal usage, small requirements for FGC, spot market fuel purchases which might vary the need for FGC, and the like) it would be less expensive to provide means for using dry sulfur than heating of the entire feed stock supply, as it is with molten sulfur.

[0007] One of the first dry feed FGC systems to be used as a substitute for providing molten sulfur basic feed stock, simply conveyed dry sulfur to the sulfur burner for direct combustion in the presence of air to produce sulfur dioxide (“dry to direct burn”). History has proved this dry to direct burn feed system to have significant problems at various parts of the feed, for example: accurate conveying and metering of the dry sulfur is extremely difficult, and subject to a number of consistency problems; and the sulfur fed to the burner would have a tendency to melt and “puddle”, thereby resulting in inconsistent and unreliable sulfur dioxide generation. A second dry system which has been utilized heretofore, metered solid sulfur to a melter and thence directly to the burner (“dry to melt to direct burn”). While this latter system alleviated the problem of puddling and inconsistent sulfur dioxide production, it still had metering problems because of the direct dry transfer to the melter and, further, continuous open communication was established between the dry sulfur and the melter, thereby increasing the risk of moisture and gaseous contamination in the metering of the dry sulfur and resultant clogging.

[0008] A still further attempt to arrive at a dry sulfur feed to a melter and thence to a sulfur burner used a manual loading, in conjunction with disposable bags containing dry sulfur. With such an arrangement a worker would position the bags over an opening into a melter and open them to dump their contents into the melter. Such an arrangement has proven to be inefficient, very dangerous to the individual in close proximity to the melter opening, and expensive.

[0009] The invention herein relates to FGC systems, and more particularly, to an improved method and apparatus for handling FGC systems which use a dry sulfur feed stock, and overcomes or, in the least, substantially alleviates the problems discussed hereinabove with respect to the prior systems.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] The present invention concerns a sulfur trioxide flue gas conditioning system such as one for conditioning the flue gas from a boiler means and which may be similar in many respects to that described in the hereinabove referenced U.S. patent. According to the present invention such a flue gas conditioning system is provided with an improved means for melting dry sulfur on site and then metering and feeding the resultant molten sulfur to the sulfur burner for combustion and the production of sulfur trioxide. This improved means includes a dry storage silo and a batch feed from the silo to a sulfur melter. After the batch feed, any open connection between the dry storage and the melter is disengaged or closed. The sulfur melter includes an accumulator or molten sulfur storage facility. Molten sulfur is metered on a continuous demand basis to the sulfur burner from the accumulator. Thus the present invention permits using a dry sulfur feed stock and provides an arrangement for melting, storing, dosing and transporting the molten sulfur, while alleviating the disadvantages of the prior art systems described hereinabove. Furthermore, the system of the present invention incorporates a large capacity dry sulfur storage facility and does not rely on manual loading of sulfur into the melter/accunulator but, rather, the dry sulfur is batched fed from the dry storage facility, into the melter/accumulator and then the connection between dry storage and wet storage is discontinued.

[0011] In view of the above, it can be seen that it is one object and advantage of the present invention to provide a safe and efficient means of storing dry sulfur and feeding such dry sulfur to a melter for the selective and metered supply of molten sulfur to a sulfur burner. This is accomplished without constant communication between the dry source of sulfur and the sulfur burner and/or the melter.

[0012] Another object and advantage of the present invention is to reduce the potential of moisture and contamination in the stored dry sulfur, thereby significantly alleviating clogging of the dry sulfur feed.

[0013] A still further object and advantage of the present invention is to increase operator safety.

[0014] These and other objects and advantages of the invention will become more readily apparent upon a reading of the following description with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] FIG. 1 is a schematic illustration of a flue gas conditioning system which is constructed and is operative in accordance with the principles of the present invention;

[0016] FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a prior art sulfur feed portion of an FGC system, wherein the sulfur is stored and supplied in a molten form to the sulfur burner;

[0017] FIG. 3 is a block diagram of a prior art sulfur feed portion of an FGC system, wherein the sulfur is stored in dry form and is metered and supplied in a dry form to the sulfur burner;

[0018] FIG. 4 is a block diagram of a prior art sulfur feed portion of an FGC system, wherein the sulfur is stored in dry form and is then metered and transferred to a melter for conversion to molten sulfur which is then sent to the burner. The latter two transfers are on a continuous basis.

[0019] FIG. 5 is a block diagram of a sulfur feed portion of an FGC system which is built in accordance with the principles of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0020] In FIG. 1 there is generally indicated at 10 a flue gas conditioning system which is constructed and is operative in accordance with the principles of the present invention. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that in general a flue gas conditioning system comprises a highly complex assembly which is ordinarily adapted for, but is not necessarily limited to, sulfur trioxide conditioning of fly ash particulates entrained in flue gas streams which emerge from fossil fuel, primarily coal, burning boilers such as boiler 12. The sulfur trioxide conditioning is completed prior to the flue gas stream entering an electrostatic precipitator and, hence, enhances removal of the fly ash by the electrostatic precipitator by conventional electrostatic precipitation techniques. For purposes of the description herein, the embodiment described is directed to sulfur trioxide conditioning of a gas stream emerging from coal burning boilers; however, this specific descriptive embodiment is not intended to unduly limit the scope of the invention described.

[0021] The flue gas conditioning system 10 comprises, in part: an air intake fan 14, the inlet of which communicates with ambient air via an inlet conduit 16; a conduit 18 which communicates between the fan 14 and a sulfur burner 20; a variable temperature primary heater 22 which is disposed within conduit 18; and, as shown, a conduit 24 which communicates between the sulfur burner 20 and a catalytic converter 26. It is to be noted that in practice sulfur burner 20 and converter 26 may be combined in a unitary staged assembly; however, for purposes of clarity FIG. 1 illustrates a conduit 24 communicating between sulfur burner 20 and converter 26.

[0022] The portion of the system 10 which is described hereinabove is generally well known in the art and is fully described in the referenced U.S. Pat. No. 3,993,429. Broadly, such portion is operative by energizing fan 14 to provide ambient air via conduit 18 to heater 22 whereat, during start-up of burner 20, the air is heated to a temperature of approximately 800 degree. to 850 degree F. The hot air is then directed to the sulfur burner 20 to heat up the interior thereof to thereby result in the ignition of the liquid sulfur being delivered to burner 20 by the pump 32. The ignited sulfur rapidly oxidizes to form a sulfur dioxide and air mixture containing, for example, 5% sulfur dioxide by volume. This sulfur dioxide—air mixture then passes to the catalytic converter 26 via conduit 24 for the production of sulfur trioxide for subsequent injection via conduit 28 into the gas stream flowing within boiler flue 13. The specific means for injection of the sulfur trioxide into the boiler flue gas streams may be any suitable arrangement; for example, the industrial sulfur trioxide gas injection probe not shown herein, but which is fully illustrated and described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,179,071. In the flue, the injected sulfur trioxide combines with water vapor to form sulfuric acid, which then condenses on the fly ash particles to advantageously influence the surface resistivity of the ash. This resistivity adjustment assists precipitator 30, of a known type, in the removal of fly ash from the flue gas prior to the flue gas exiting the power plant through a suitable exhaust stack (not shown). The system 10 additionally includes a sulfur storage/delivery portion of the present invention, which is schematically illustrated by block 32 in FIG. 1, and is described hereinafter in detail with respect to FIG. 5. Inasmuch as the invention herein is primarily directed to the apparatus and method of the storage/delivery portion 32 of FGC system 10, and the balance of system 10 is well known in the art, a further description of such known portions of system 10 is not deemed necessary for one skilled in the art to achieve a full understanding of the invention herein. Accordingly, for a further description of the elements described hereinabove, other than portion 32, and the operation and interaction thereof, reference is hereby specifically made to U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,993,429, 4,179,071 and 4,333,746.

[0023] FIGS. 2, 3 and 4 are representative, in schematic form, of prior art sulfur storage/delivery portions of systems 10.

[0024] FIG. 2 illustrates the first, and most popular, of a prior art sulfur storage/delivery system 32 (a) used heretofore and, as shown in block format comprises: a molten sulfur storage facility 34, such as a tank, or in-ground pit; a continuous metered molten sulfur transfer facility 38; and a sulfur burner/converter 20 and 26, respectively. The storage system 32(a) has generally performed quite well in the past; however, for a number of reasons, including: safety; economics; lack of heating steam; inability to readily obtain molten sulfur; in instances where the FGC system 10 was only occasionally used; and the like, users preferred to have an on-site dry sulfur source as the basic feed stock to the FGC system 10.

[0025] FIG. 3 illustrates the first attempt of a mechanical (as differentiated from a manual) prior art dry sulfur storage/delivery system 32(b) which, as shown in block format comprises: a dry sulfur storage facility 36, such as a silo; a continuous metered dry sulfur transfer facility 40; and a sulfur burner/converter 21 and 26, respectively. It is noted that the burner 21 differs from burner 20 to the extent prior art teachings concerning the differences in known construction when directly burning from a molten sulfur feedstock, as differentiated from the direct supply to the sulfur burner of a dry sulfur feedstock. Experience has shown that dry sulfur storage/delivery systems, such as systems 32(b) which convey a dry sulfur feedstock directly into the burner 21, have considerable problems, including, but not limited to: inconsistent production of sulfur dioxide at the burner due to puddling adjacent the initial deposit points of the dry sulfur in the burner 21; inconsistent metering of the dry sulfur; and because of the constant open communication between the meter/transfer facility 38 and the burner 21, a tendency to accumulate heat, moisture and impurities and clogging in the facility 38 or storage facility 24.

[0026] FIG. 4 illustrates a prior art dry sulfur storage/delivery system 32 (c) which, recognized the deficiencies of system 32(b) and, as shown in block format, comprises: a dry sulfur storage facility 36, such as a silo; a continuous metered dry sulfur transfer facility 40; and a melter 44, which melts the dry sulfur into a molten sulfur for immediate delivery of molten sulfur to the burner 20. It is noted that the melter 44 may be of any type suitable for and the necessary heat therefore may be provided by steam, electric heating coils, or the like. While experience has shown that dry sulfur storage/delivery systems, such as systems 32(c) have advantages over systems such as system 32(b), system 32(c) still suffers from operational problems, including, but not limited to: inconsistent metering of the dry sulfur; and because of the constant open communication between the meter/transfer facility 40 and the melter 40, a tendency to accumulate heat, moisture and impurities and clogging in the facility 38 or storage facility 24.

[0027] FIG. 5 illustrates the dry sulfur storage/delivery system 32 of the present invention, which, recognizes the deficiencies of prior art systems 32(b) and 32(c) and, as shown in block format, comprises: a dry sulfur storage facility 36, such as a silo; a dry sulfur batch transfer facility 42; a melter/accumulator 46, which melts the dry sulfur into a molten sulfur, and accumulates it for demand delivery of molten sulfur to the burner 20. It is noted that the melter 46 may be of any type suitable for and the necessary heat therefore may be provided by steam, electric heating coils, or the like. As differentiated from melter 44, melter/accumulator 46 contains sufficient volume therein to retain, in a molten state, a selected quantity of molten sulfur therewithin (i.e. one or two days supply). Furthermore, the batch transfer facility is not subject to critical metering of dry material, as is the case with meter transfer assemblies 40. Still further, the system 32 is designed such that after a selected batch of dry sulfur is conveyed from facility 42 to melter/accumulator 46, the communication between such elements is discontinued. Thus with an arrangement of elements such as is specified in hereinabove with respect to system 32, the hereinabove mentioned problems with respect to systems 32(b) and 32(c) are overcome, or in the least, greatly alleviated. For example, since there is no critical metering of dry sulfur, any problems associated with a finely measured transfer of dry sulfur is overcome. Furthermore, inasmuch as there is no constant communication between the stored dry sulfur and the molten sulfur, the problems associated with such communication are alleviated.