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CFD Modeling of Air Stream Pressure Drop inside Combustion Air Duct of Coal-Fired Power Plant with and without Airfoil

Authors: Pakawhat Khumkhreung, Yottana Khunatorn


The flow pattern inside rectangular intake air duct of 300 MW lignite coal-fired power plant is investigated in order to analyze and reduce overall inlet system pressure drop. The system consists of the 45-degree inlet elbow, the flow instrument, the 90-degree mitered elbow and fans, respectively. The energy loss in each section can be determined by Bernoulli’s equation and ASHRAE standard table. Hence, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is used in this study based on Navier-Stroke equation and the standard k-epsilon turbulence modeling. Input boundary condition is 175 kg/s mass flow rate inside the 11-m2 cross sectional duct. According to the inlet air flow rate, the Reynolds number of airstream is 2.7x106 (based on the hydraulic duct diameter), thus the flow behavior is turbulence. The numerical results are validated with the real operation data. It is found that the numerical result agrees well with the operating data, and dominant loss occurs at the flow rate measurement device. Normally, the air flow rate is measured by the airfoil and it gets high pressure drop inside the duct. To overcome this problem, the airfoil is planned to be replaced with the other type measuring instrument, such as the average pitot tube which generates low pressure drop of airstream. The numerical result in case of average pitot tube shows that the pressure drop inside the inlet airstream duct is decreased significantly. It should be noted that the energy consumption of inlet air system is reduced too.

Keywords: Airfoil, average pitot tube, combustion air, CFD, pressure drop, rectangular duct.

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