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Biomass to energy (BtE) and waste to energy (WtE) plants in Norway need to comply with stricter emission limits and/or adjust to tighter profit margins, and EU have implemented a further reduction of emission limits from medium (scale) combustion plants.

Tighter profit margins mean that poorer/cheaper fuel qualities become interesting, as well as operational optimization with respect to efficiency and capacity maximization. NOx, particulate and CO emissions are special concerns, as well as the operational challenges following particle deposition on heat transfer surfaces. The majority of the operational BtE and WtE plants in Norway are grate fired plants, and even though different grate technologies have been developed, they suffer from both variations in fuel quality and changing operating conditions, resulting in non-optimum operating conditions. The most cost-effective measure to abate the resulting operational challenges, including increased emission levels, are with primary measures.

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is the ultimate design tool for BtE and WtE plant combustion and heat transfer sections, however, cost-effective sub-models need to be developed, implemented and used in an optimum way. Moreover, the CFD simulations need to be carried out for transient conditions, to study the effect of changing operating conditions, and minimize the impact of these through improved plant operation and operational guidelines.

GrateCFD therefore focuses on enabling optimum grate fired BtE and WtE plant operation through CFD aided design and operational guidelines. Improved models and modelling approaches, in combination with targeted experiments/measurement campaigns, are keys for future's increased sustainable BtE and WtE plants. This will have a significant impact on two of the most important renewable value chains in Norway today, the BtE and WtE value chains.

Main objective:
Development of CFD aided design tools and operational guidelines for optimum grate fired BtE and WtE plant operation through:

  • Model development: improved fuel/fuel bed and gas release models, heat-exchanger deposition models and reduced kinetics models (NOx); and validation of these
  • Simulations: transient and steady state CFD simulations of BtE and WtE plants; and validation
  • Concept improvements: BtE and WtE plant case studies selection, setup, simulations and analysis, giving design and operational guidelines


  1. Develop improved fuel, gas and particle sub-models to be included in the CFD simulations
  2. Develop numerical tools that are tailored to study concept improvements for grate fired BtE and WtE plants, with focus on emission reduction, combustion performance, energy efficiency and availability
  3. Obtain operational and retrofitting guidelines for optimum operation of grate fired BtE and WtE plants
  4. Education
  5. Dissemination

Industry partners:

  • Statkraft Varme AS
  • Oslo EGE
  • Returkraft AS
  • Vattenfall AB
  • Hitachi Zosen Inova AG

RTD partners:

  • SINTEF Energy Research – Department of Thermal Energy
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) – Department of Energy and Process Engineering


The project is a KPN-project (Competence building project for the industry) supported by the Research Council of Norway.

The project budget is 24 mill NOK, with 80% from the Research Council and 20% from the industry.


Published 09 June 2017
Chief Scientist
906 59 751

Project duration

2017 - 2020