Waste plastics as supplemental fuel in the blast furnace process: improving combustion efficiencies.
ABSTRACT The possibility of using waste plastics as a source of secondary fuel in a blast furnace has been of recent interest. The success of this process, however, will be critically dependent upon the optimization of operating systems. For instance, the supply of waste plastics must be reliable as well as economically attractive compared with conventional secondary fuels such as heavy oil, natural gas and pulverized coal. In this work, we put special importance on the improvement of the combustibility of waste plastics as a way to enhance energy efficiency in a blast furnace. As experimental variables to approach this target, the effects of plastic particle size, blast temperature, and the level of oxygen enrichment were investigated using a custom-made blast model designed to simulate a real furnace. Lastly, the combustion efficiency of the mixture of waste plastics and pulverized coal was tested. The observations made from these experiments led us to the conclusion that with the increase of both blast temperature and the level of oxygen enrichment, and with a decrease in particle size, the combustibility of waste polyethylene could be improved at a given distance from the tuyere. Also it was found that the efficiency of coal combustion decreased with the addition of plastics; however, the combustion efficiency of mixture could be comparable at a longer distance from the tuyere.