The effects of flue-wall design modifications on combustion and flow characteristics of an aluminum anode baking furnace-CFD modeling

Abdul Raouf Tajik, Tariq Shamim, Mouna Zaidani, Rashid K. Abu Al-Rub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

A modern aluminum smelter has a capacity of 1–2 million tons of aluminum per annum which requires more than 0.5–1.0 million tons of heat treated (baked) carbon anodes per year. The anode baking process is very energy intensive, approximately requires 2 GJ of energy per ton of carbon anodes which will be approximately 1–2 million GJ of energy per year. Since the plant testing is very expensive, anode baking furnace modeling is imperative to investigate the effects of different operational and geometrical parameters on the furnace energy consumption. In the numerical modeling of turbulent reactive flows, the accuracy of the model highly depends on the description of turbulence-chemistry interaction, and the robustness of the radiative transfer equation solver. Hence, the present study tested different turbulence-chemistry interaction frameworks and radiative transfer equation solvers for confined turbulent diffusion flames and results are compared with the experimental data. It was observed that the k-ε realizable turbulence model combined with the presumed probability density function method as turbulence-chemistry interaction, and discrete ordinates method as radiative transfer equation solver illustrate excellent agreement with the experimental data. Anode baking homogeneity is an important consideration in the design of the anode baking furnace, which requires appropriate flow distribution in the flue-wall cavity. Hence, the developed numerical framework was employed to investigate the effects of flue-wall design modifications on combustion and heat transfer characteristics of anode baking furnace energy consumption. It was observed that the modified design results in a higher thermal efficiency (lower energy consumption), and more homogenous temperature and flow fields which result in the baking of anodes more uniformly which consequently result in the evolution of more homogenous material properties. Consequently, the energy consumption in the aluminum reduction cell will also be significantly reduced. The present study also investigated the effect of flue-wall flow blockage due to packing coke infiltration on baking energy consumption for the aged anode baking furnaces and introduced three modified flue-wall designs.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)207-219
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Energy
Volume230
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2018

Keywords

  • Anode baking furnace
  • Baffles
  • Flow blockage
  • Flue-wall
  • Packing coke
  • Presumed PDF

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