A technical paper written by researchers of Purdue University Northwest Hammond’s Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation (CIVS) and AK Steel about a way to improve steel production based on a concept developed at the steel company’s Dearborn, Mich. Works has been selected to receive a national award this spring.
The paper, titled “Investigation of Co-Injection of Natural Gas and Pulverized Coal in a Blast Furnace,” will receive the Association for Iron and Steel Technology’s (AIST) 2016 Josef S. Kapitan Award-Ironmaking, May 16 at the AIST conference in Pittsburgh, Pa.
AK Steel Technical Manager, Ironmaking Stuart Street initiated the collaborative project to utilize the unique skill set available at the Purdue Hammond CIVS research facility, as well as to support further advances of industry-university research.
Multi-faceted research team
The research team includes lead writer and Michigan City resident Tyamo Okosun, a Purdue Hammond alumnus, CIVS research assistant and Ph.D. student at Purdue’s West Lafayette campus. Other team members are Street of AK Steel, former students Yan Chen and Jiaqi Zhao, and Purdue Hammond faculty/staff members Chenn Zhou, CIVS director, and Bin Wu, CIVS research engineer.
The industry-funded project utilized the CIVS for computational fluid dynamics modeling and analysis. The researchers conducted a parametric study of blast furnace operation, exploring ways to increase performance and efficiency. More specifically, they explored the use of natural gas as the carrier fuel for pulverized coal injection (PCI). PCI has been utilized in blast furnaces for decades as a substitute for reducing undesirable coke.
Importance of natural gas utilization
“Ultimately, the goal is to improve the fuel replacement ratio by replacing coke with coal and natural gas,” Okosun said. “The less coke used, the cleaner the gases.”
As expressed in their paper, the researchers determined that natural gas utilization for pulverized coal injection could improve total burnout from 77 percent to 87 percent. Their research also uncovered the likely cause of wear and ablation in the configuration of blast furnaces. Finally, they discovered that natural gas as the PCI carrier also potentially could improve blast furnace productivity by some 2.5 percent.
‘Wonderful learning experience’
“This project has been a wonderful learning experience, combining industrial know-how and direct collaboration with our partners. I have learned so much from our industrial advisor, Dr. Street,” Okosun said. “The topic of this research will be carried on through the newly established Steel Manufacturing Simulation and Visualization Consortium.”
Purdue Hammond’s CIVS is an interdisciplinary research facility that combines advanced simulation techniques with 3-dimensional visualization technologies to provide innovative solutions in response to industrial and research challenges.