Modeling of ferric sulfate decomposition and sulfation of potassium chloride during grate-firing of biomass



Ferric sulfate is used as an additive in biomass combustion to convert the released potassium chloride to the less harmful potassium sulfate. The decomposition of ferric sulfate is studied in a fast heating rate thermogravimetric analyzer and a volumetric reaction model is proposed to describe the process. The yields of sulfur oxides from ferric sulfate decomposition under boiler conditions are investigated experimentally, revealing a distribution of approximately 40% SO3 and 60% SO2. The ferric sulfate decomposition model is combined with a detailed kinetic model of gas-phase KCl sulfation and a model of K2SO4 condensation to simulate the sulfation of KCl by ferric sulfate addition. The simulation results show good agreements with experiments conducted in a biomass grate-firing reactor. The results indicate that the SO3 released from ferric sulfate decomposition is the main contributor to KCl sulfation and that the effectiveness of ferric sulfate addition is sensitive to the applied temperature conditions. © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 59: 4314–4324, 2013