Formation of nitrogen species and oxygenated PAH during the combustion of coal volatiles

Elmer B. Ledesma*, Peter F. Nelson, John C. Mackie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The combustion of coal volatiles produced by rapid pyrolysis was studied using a two-stage reactor consisting of a fluidized-bed reactor coupled to a tubular-flow reactor. Volatiles were generated in the fluidized-bed reactor under high heating rates and at 600 °C such that the major volatile species produced were tars. The freshly generated tars were subsequently oxidized in the tubular-flow reactor at 900 and 1000 °C. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) analysis showed that, with an increase in oxygen concentration, the recovered tars exhibited an increase in the carbonyl, C = O, functionality. The position of the C = O peak and the presence of absorbances in the aromatic C-H out-of-plane deformation region in the FTIR spectra and GC/MS identification demonstrate that polycyclic aromatic ketones and aldehydes are significant oxygenated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (OPAH) products from coal volatiles combustion. The results indicate that combustion processes are primarily responsible for OPAH formation. HNCO yield was found to increase rapidly with the addition of small amounts of oxygen. The results show that HCN oxidation is not primarily responsible for HNCO formation; reactions of other N-containing species are likely sources. The observation of HNCO suggests that previous measurements of NH 3 in coal combustion probably represent the sum of NH 3 and HNCO yields. The presence of hydrocarbon species (gases and tars) has a significant effect on fuel-N conversion. The experimental results clearly demonstrated that NO production increased significantly once the concentration of hydrocarbons decreased.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1687-1693
Number of pages7
JournalSymposium (International) on Combustion
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

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