This paper introduces an experimental plant specifically designed to challenge the main operating issues related to modern biomass combustion systems (mainly NOx
, particulate matter, and deposition phenomena). The prototype is an 11–18 kW overfed fixed-bed burner with a modular configuration, and the design considers the implementation of certain strategies for improving combustion: (1) a complete refrigeration system that also includes the fuel bed; and (2) an air injection control through flue gas recirculation. First, the stability and repeatability of the facility were successfully tested, establishing the duration of transient periods in the phase of experiment design. The results revealed similar effects in temperature and particulate emissions when comparing the use of the cooling bed and recirculation techniques. Reductions of 15% and up to 70% were achieved for the exhaust temperature and particulate matter concentration, respectively. Otherwise, the refrigeration considerably reduced the bed temperature, especially in its core, which enhanced the condensation of volatile salts and therefore the fouling phenomena. Although the viability of using both techniques as temperature control methods is demonstrated, further studies are needed to clarify the specific effects of each technology and to clarify the possible significance of a hybrid solution that combines both strategies.
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