FLUIDISED BED COMBUSTION AND THE GLASS HOUSE INDUSTRY

G. McMahon
The energy input to the glasshouse industry accounts for around 40% of the total production costs. Moreover, in Ireland's case this energy is almost totally in the form of imported oil.

Conventional use of coal or peat represents one way of ensuring that this vital energy input is not interrupted. However, such conventional solid fuel combustors are very sensitive to the quality of fuel used. Different grades of coal cannot easily be interchanged. Likewise, wood chips, peat or refuse derived fuel would not burn well on a coal grate.

Fluidised bed combustion may offer an economical solution to the problem of high energy costs and fuel versatility. Experience in the UK over the past five years indicates that considerable fuel cost savings can be made. A wide range of fuels have been successfully burnt, at an acceptable efficiency and burn out, in the same fluidised bed combustor. In addition, maintenance costs would seem to be reduced and a higher degree of automation achieved.

Clearly some problems have emerged in operating fluidised bed combustors. Bed cleaning and grit arresting are two aspects which require careful attention. The feeding and dispersion of fuel in the bed also needs consideration. This is particularly true for low density, high volatile fuels like peat or refuse derived fuel.

The National Board for Science and Technology would hope to co-ordinate a number of demonstration fluidised bed units in this country. The rated output would be between 5,000 and 40,000lbs/hour of steam. Various fuels will be tested on a variety of commercially available units.

McMahon, G. (1981). FLUIDISED BED COMBUSTION AND THE GLASS HOUSE INDUSTRY. Acta Hortic. 115, 181-190
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1981.115.20
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.1981.115.20

Acta Horticulturae