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Carbolite’s Moving Wall Coke Oven enables Thermal Technologies centre sponsored process innovations in Biomass Torrefaction

A recently installed Carbolite 350 kg Moving Wall Coke Oven is making a real difference to investigations taking place at the Thermal Technologies Centre at Redcar, UK. The Carbolite oven is designed to test the forces that are produced during carbonisation of a 350 kg sample of coking coal as a measure of the forces generated within a full-scale industrial coke oven and thus enabling the optimal processing of coking coals of varying grades and origins. In addition to its conventional application the Thermal Technologies Centre plans to use the Carbolite oven as a large scale batch pyrolysis oven to test the torrefaction of biomass materials. In a process somewhat similar to coke manufacture, torrefaction involves baking wood and other biomass materials so as to increase their energy density. By driving off moisture and low energy volatile materials a product is left behind that is much easier and more economical to transport and handle and that can be more easily co-fired in existing coal plants.

Carbolite’s Moving Wall Coking Ovens are more normally used for testing suitably granulated and graded coals under accurately controlled conditions. They are used to optimise the coke manufacturing process by enabling operators to avoid excessive coking pressure during operation, something that is known to affect the longevity and integrity of production scale coke ovens. As the contents of the test oven are heated pressure is exerted against a fixed wall on one side and a moving wall on the other. A load transducer activated by the moving wall measures the extent of the pressure. All instrumentation is housed in a separate control cabinet to reduce any risk of damage. A variety of oven widths are available from Carbolite meaning that there is one to fit any line, and accessories such as charge hoppers, discharge rams and wet or dry quench carts allow customers the flexibility to fit the ovens into their operations.

The Thermal Technologies Centre is a collaboration between Tata Steel and the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI). The Centre for Process Innovation is a member of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, one of a network of seven ‘Catapult’ centres established and overseen by the Technology Strategy Board in partnership with major public sector industrial partners and Universities. The Batch Pyrolysis Oven is co-located with a large scale continuous flow gasification test rig. The objective of the Catapult centres is to bring together state of the art resources, innovation and research in order to improve the UKs commercial exploitation of current and future advanced technologies and drive forward economic growth. The Thermal Technologies Centre is one of a suite of technologies provided by CPI which include Sustainable Engineering, Smart Chemistry, Anaerobic Digestion, Industrial Biotechnology and Printable Electronics.

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