Modeling Conjugate Heat Transfer in an Anode Baking Furnace Using OpenFoam

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The operation of large industrial furnaces will continue to rely on hydrocarbon fuels in the near foreseeable future. Mathematical modeling and numerical simulation is expected to deliver key insights to implement measures to further reduce pollutant emissions. These measures include the design optimization of the burners, the dilution of oxidizer with exhaust gasses, and the mixing of natural gas with hydrogen. In this paper, we target the numerical simulation of non-premixed turbulent combustion of natural gas in a single heating section of a ring pit anode baking furnace. In previous work, we performed combustion simulations using a commercial flow simulator combined with an open-source package for the three-dimensional mesh generation. This motivates switching to a fully open-source software stack. In this paper, we develop a Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes model for the turbulent flow combined with an infinitely fast mixed-is-burnt model for the non-premixed combustion and a participating media model for the radiative heat transfer in OpenFoam. The heat transfer to the refractory brick lining is taken into account by a conjugate heat transfer model. Numerical simulations provide valuable insight into the heat release and chemical species distribution in the staged combustion process using two burners. Results show that at the operating conditions implemented, higher peak temperatures are formed at the burner closest to the air inlet. This results in a larger thermal nitric-oxide concentration. The inclusion of the heat absorption in the refractory bricks results in a more uniform temperature on the symmetry plane at the center of the section. The peak in thermal nitric-oxides is reduced by a factor of four compared to the model with adiabatic walls