Table of Contents
Journal of Powder Technology
Volume 2015, Article ID 786063, 12 pages
Research Article

Investigation into the Flow Properties of Coarse Solid Fuels for Use in Industrial Feed Systems

Energy and Environmental Engineering Research Group (EEERG), Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Sheffield, Mappin Street, Sheffield S1 3JD, UK

Received 16 February 2015; Revised 8 May 2015; Accepted 17 May 2015

Academic Editor: Alberto Di Renzo

Copyright © 2015 James M. Craven et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Material feeding and handling systems have been cited as one of the most common causes of process downtime where thermochemical conversion processes are concerned. New and emerging fuels come in a variety of forms, and if such fuels are to be deployed widely it is imperative that material feeding and handling systems are designed appropriately. This study proposes an approach for designing material feeding and handling systems for use with coarse solid fuels. The data obtained from this study indicates particle size to be one of the key issues affecting the flowability of bulk solids further to the uniformity in particle shape. Coarse bulk solid samples were shown to flow more freely than their milled and pulverised counterparts, generating higher degrees of flowability. The results from this study were also applied to a new feed system used for feeding solid fuels to high pressure processes named the Hydraulic Lock Hopper. In this study the Hydraulic Lock Hopper demonstrated the feeding of wood pellets, torrefied spruce pellets, and ground anthracite coal grains against a pressure of 25 barg in two modes of operation. Energy savings compared to conventional lock hopper systems were recorded in the region of 80%.