Power Engineering

Computer Simulation Reduces Time And Cost Of Wet Scrubber Design

By Douglas J. Smith, IEng Senior Editor

USING COMPUTER simulation to evaluate the performance of wet scrubbers has saved Babcock & Wilcox (B&W) up to $70,000 and four weeks of work. Because the design of wet scrubbers depends upon the fuel being burned and the amount of sulfur in the fuel, B&W must custom design each scrubber they sell. When designing a scrubber the engineer has to balance a number of competing factors including its geometry, gas flow velocity, sulfur dioxide removal rate, slurry droplet carry-over rate and the pressure drop.

In the past design engineers constructed a 1/8-scale model of the scrubber, which was then used to evaluate the performance of the design. The model, made from Plexiglas, made it possible to observe the movement of the gas and liquids within the absorber cylinder. A major drawback of using models is they cost $50,000 to $80,000 each. In addition to the cost is the length of time to construct the model and/or modify the model.


Wet Scrubber Absorber Module
Click here to enlarge image

To reduce engineering costs B&W decided to augment the physical model testing of wet scrubbers with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis software to simulate scrubber performance. The CFD software, CFX purchased from AEA Technology, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is capable of two-phase modeling. This was very important to B&W because their wet scrubbers must deal with gas and liquids.

The first step in the process was the construction of a large-scale physical model that B&W used to develop the following quantitative data:

  • Pressure drop through the scrubber
  • Tray characteristics
  • Liquid fractions within the absorber
  • Mist eliminator pressure drop
  • Droplet loading to the mist eliminators
  • Amount of carryover and gas
  • Liquid flow patterns

The model was tested with a wide range of gas velocities, slurry fluxes and spray header arrangements. This phase of the project took B&W four years to collect and analyze all of the data.

Simulated modeling

Using computer simulation, B&W engineers have designed a wet scrubber for which the base design was established in the large physical model. The first step, before they could use the simulation program, was to update the existing digital scrubber model to show the scrubber inlet, absorber trays, the spray zones and the mist eliminators. In operation, the computer simulates the flue gas as it enters uniformly through the side inlet and exits through the top of the scrubber. It also simulates the water entering the spray headers and exiting, at uniform pressure, at the bottom of the scrubber.

Modifying the model to match the new design parameters took approximately one week. Another week was spent running the CFX simulations to gauge the performance of the system. Using the scrubber simulation allowed the gas and water flow patterns to be observed under six different operating conditions. With the simulator the engineers are able to modify the scrubber's configuration and optimize its design very quickly. One person at a cost of less than $15,000 did the initial modeling, simulation and analysis. Previously three people were required when using the Plexiglas model.

"Being able to evaluate many different configurations has improved the quality of our designs," says Paul Williams, senior advisor at B&W. According to Williams, the computer simulation gives B&W the ability to evaluate multiple design options quickly and at lower costs.

Sponsored by FLSmidth

Related Articles

B&W Canada to provide nuclear services for Bruce Power units

The Babcock & Wilcox Company (B&W, NYSE:BWC) announced that its subsidiary Babcock & Wilcox Canada Ltd. (B&W Canada) has entered into a long-term service agreement with Bruce Power, valued at nearly $300 million.

B&W receives $35M supply contract for boilers, equipment to University of Alaska

The Babcock & Wilcox Co. (NYSE: BWC) announced that its subsidiary, Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group Inc. (B&W PGG), has entered into a contract, worth more than $35 million, to design and manufacture two boilers, air quality control equipment, and a pulse jet fabric filter baghouse for particulate control, fuel feed system, boiler auxiliaries, dry sorbent injection system and structural steel, for a power plant owned by the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Follow Power Engineering on Twitter

Latest News

Shutterstock coal production trucks

Weekly Coal Production

The Weekly Coal Production shows how much coal is being produced across the U.S.

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Weekly Economic Indicators financial business

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas' Economic Indicators

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas offers a glimpse into how the markets are doing domestical...

Kvaerner awarded contract for gas-fired power plant in Delaware

Kvaerner North American Construction Inc. and its joint venture partner, Parsons Brinckerhoff...

Canadian Solar purchases two solar projects

Canadian Solar Inc. has acquired a majority interest in two utility-scale solar power project...

Operators Restart Unit 2 at PPL Susquehanna

Unit 2 at the PPL Susquehanna nuclear power plant near Berwick, Pa. resumed generating electr...

Settlement agreement limits cost recovery at Edwardsport

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) on Dec. 27 modified and approved a settlemen...

Toshiba in talks to sell portion of Westinghouse nuclear unit

Toshiba Corp is in talks  to sell up to 16% of its stake in the Westinghouse Electric Co...

Utah nixes nuclear waste storage facility

Plans to park radioactive waste at a storage facility in Utah have been officially called off.

Power Engineering Current Issue

03/01/2014
Volume 118, Issue 3
1403PE-cover

Products Showcase

Dynamic Fluoride Ion cleaning DFIC of industrial natural gas turbines Hi-Tech Furnace Systems

Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning of IGT Parts

The Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning (DFIC) Process from Hi-Tech Furnace Systems is able to clean deep, narrow cracks of oxides by cycling between negative, atmospheric, and positive pressure.

Archived Articles

2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013

Power Industry Wire News

National Hockey League Names Constellation Its Official Energy Provider, Will Offset Carbon Footprint Across All 30 Team Markets

National Hockey League Names Constellation Its Official Energy Provider, Will Offset Ca...

BioCNG, LLC Announces Groundbreaking on BioCNG Vehicle Fuel System and Pipeline for Grand Junction, Colorado's Persigo WWTP

BioCNG, LLC Announces Groundbreaking on BioCNG Vehicle Fuel System and Pipeline for Gra...

Synergy Resources Corporation Provides an Operations Update, Estimating 100% Year-Over-Year Production Growth, and a Revised Fiscal 2015 Capital Forecast

Synergy Resources Corporation Provides an Operations Update, Estimating 100% Year-Over-...

XZERES Sees Accelerating Sales Growth, Driven by Further Adoption in Key Markets

XZERES Sees Accelerating Sales Growth, Driven by Further Adoption in Key Markets

Algae Biomass Organization Welcomes Gas Technology Institute as New Corporate Member

Algae Biomass Organization Welcomes Gas Technology Institute as New Corporate Member

Power Engineering

Article Archives for Power Engineering Magazine

Continuing Education

Professional Development Hours

To access a course listing associated to a specific topic listed below, click on the topic of choice from the list below.

Latest Energy Jobs

View more Job Listings >>