Global circulating fluidized bed (CFB) boilers market has experienced a steady growth over recent years and is expected to witness significant expansion over next seven years owing to growing concern over strict adherence to toxic standards and policies. Increased population coupled with volatile prices of oil & gas is expected to steer forward the path for thermal power production facilities. But the conventional methods of coal ignition lead to emission of NOx and SOx in high volumes which are related to acid rain. Adding of extra equipments to comply with the pollution standards, incurs high capital costs. Conventional boiler designs lack the flexibility to meet wide range of industry requirements.
Surging demand for cost efficient and cleaner combustion technology coupled with stringent environmental regulations, has urged the organizations to look for energy efficient ways of power generation. Various initiatives are taken to address these issues and find eco-friendly fuel combustion technologies. Owing to the minimal capital costs involved in the setup and operation of CFB boilers, this technology has witnessed an increased significance primarily in power generation. Fluidized bed combustion is one of the efficient methods which can be modified to cater wide range of fuel and moisture contents.
Major benefits of this technology include reduced carbon footprint, wide range of fuel characteristics and low temperature operation. Additionally, circulating fluidized bed boilers are compatible with both conventional as well as unconventional fuels including petro-coke, coal, industrial & agricultural waste, biomass and wood. Complete automation of operations lowers the fire and health associated risks. The boiler design can be optimized for ignition of additional fuels available from coal mines such as pet coke, coal blends and low grade coal. Low operating temperature in the boiler lowers the carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and sulphur emissions. Easy removal of ash improves the independence of boiler and increases the overall efficiency of fuel ignition. Increased thermal efficiency of this technology will help improve the overall plant production.
Major applications of CFB boiler has been segmented into chemical, petrochemicals, oil & gas and coal industries. Other conversion technologies present in the market include cold cyclone, bubbling and pressurized fluidized bed combustion. Conventional methods of power generation and supply incur huge loss while passing through different thermodynamic cycles in the conversion process. Further losses are associated with distribution and transmission of electricity to the end-use segment. This opens up new platforms for cogeneration of heat and power from single energy source. Using CFB method, heat and steam can be generated from wide range of fuels in various industrial sectors.
Major industries that benefit from this technology include textiles, paper, fertilizer, chemicals and petroleum refining. Added benefits include solving energy crisis and decreased dependence on grid power. Surging demand for bioenergy in both mature and emerging economies would increase the significance of CFB boilers in the power generation industry. Combustion of coal and biomass in fluidized bed reduces harmful emissions and increases overall plant production efficiency. Aforementioned factors are expected to bolster the demand for boilers and monetization of new R&D projects in the supplier segment.
Different factors affect the choice of boiler and source of energy in the project. Availability of resources can vary from single source like coal to a combination of fuels like oil, industrial waste and biomass, depending on the location of energy production facility. While bubbling fluidized bed can cause a considerable setup costs compared to circulating fluidized bed boilers, both are equipped with multi-fuel combustion technology.
Recent developments in CFB technology are expected to drive forward the way for modernization of current manufacturing facilities. Developments in using fluidized bed boiler method have observed a significant growth in the U.S, the U.K and Asia Pacific. Shifting from small scale CFB to large scale commercialization power generation facilities have been observed in Poland, and China.
Major companies operating in global circulating fluidized bed boiler industry include Alfa Laval, Alstom, Bharat Heavy Electricals, Foster Wheeler, Formosa Heavy Industries, Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group, Rafako SA, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Thermax. ThyssenKrupp Industries is focused on design and manufacturing of boilers catering to demand of key industry players in power generation industry.
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