Four computer codes (PHOENICS, PCGC, FLUENT and INTERN) representing a spectrum of existing combustion modeling capabilities were evaluated for low-Btu gas applications. In particular, the objective was to identify computer code(s) that can be used effectively for predictions of (a) the flow field to yield efficient combustion, (b) the temperature field to ensure structural integrity and (c) species concentrations to meet environmental emission standards in a gas turbine combustor operating on low-Btu coal gas. Detailed information on physical models, assumptions, limitations and operational features of various codes was obtained through a series of computational runs of increasing complexity and grouped as (a) experimental validation, (b) code comparison and (c) application to coal gas combustion.
INTERN is not suitable for the present application since it has been tailored to model combustion process of premixed hydrocarbon fuels. FLUENT is easy to use and has detailed combustion models (in Version 3), however, it is not favored here because the user is unable to alter, modify or change the existing model(s). While PCGC-2 has the most comprehensive models for combustion, it is not user friendly and is inherently limited to axisymmetric geometry. PCGC-3 is expected to overcome these drawbacks. Built in combustion models in PHOENICS are similar to those in FLUENT. However, the user can implement advanced models on PHOENICS leading to a flexible and powerful combustion code.