UCICL Collaborating with Water Reclamation Plant to Improve Fuel Flexibility to Meet Strict Emission Standards

August 18, 2016

Chiquita Water Reclamation Plant

The University of California, Irvine (UCICL) is collaborating with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) on a California Energy Commission (CEC) funded research project to demonstrate an ultra-low emission boiler package burner on a 1.99 MMBtu/hr Johnston boiler at the Chiquita Water Reclamation Plant (CWRP) in Orange County California. The primary task is to demonstrate the ability to switch between biogas produced at the facility and propane in real time to avoid long and expensive shut down procedures.

Because of the inability to utilize biogas due to the variability in composition and low heating values, currently, many existing organic waste stream facilities dispose of their energy rich waste stock by flaring. A low cost fuel composition sensor developed at the UCI Combustion Laboratory addresses these issues by detecting the speed of sound of gas mixtures flowing through the device, and deriving the corresponding fuel composition that will be deployed for the fuel entering the boiler. The sensor then updates the boiler controls in real time to change the mixture of biogas and propane while avoiding flame instabilities and meeting emission criteria.