Investigation of NiO/NiAl2O4 Oxygen Carriers for Chemical-Looping Combustion Produced by Spray-Drying
Journal article, 2010
Chemical-looping combustion is a novel combustion technology with inherent separation of the greenhouse gas CO2. The technology uses circulating oxygen carriers to transfer oxygen from the combustion air to the fuel. In this paper, oxygen carriers based on commercially available NiO and α-Al2O3 were prepared using the industrial spray-drying method, and compared with particles prepared by freeze-granulation. The materials were investigated under alternating oxidizing and reducing conditions in a laboratory fluidized bed, thus simulating the cyclic conditions of a chemical-looping combustion system. The particles produced by spray-drying displayed a remarkable similarity to the freeze-granulated oxygen carriers, with high reactivity when the bed was fluidized and similar physical properties when sintered at the same temperature. This is an important result as it shows that the scaling-up from a laboratory production method, i.e. freeze-granulation, to a commercial method suitable for large-scale production, i.e. spray-drying, did not involve any unexpected difficulties. A difference noticed between the spray-dried and freeze-granulated particles was the sphericity. Whereas the freeze-granulated particles showed near perfect sphericity, a large portion of the spray-dried particles had hollow interiors. Defluidization was most likely to occur for highly reduced particles, at low gas velocities. The apparent density and crushing strength of the oxygen carriers could be increased either by increasing the sintering temperature or by increasing the sintering time. However, the fuel conversion was fairly unchanged when the sintering temperature was increased but was clearly improved when the sintering time was increased.