On-line determination of the calorific value of solid fuels

L.B.M. Van Kessel*, A.R.J. Arendsen, G. Brem

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


In thermal processes with highly inhomogeneous fuels it is desirable to know real time fuel characteristics. In the case of municipal solid waste combustion (MSWC) it was up till now not possible to determine the calorific value of the waste on-line with a high accuracy. In this paper, a new method is presented where the calorific value is determined by means of an observer. A model based upon the mass balance is used together with concentration measurements in the flue gas to calculate on-line the calorific value of the waste. The background of this observer based sensor is discussed in detail, including a sensitivity analysis. Results from tests in different full-scale MSWC plants are presented as well as a comparison with other known off-line methods. It will be shown that the sensor works well and is more accurate than the present off-line methods. Furthermore, some applications of the calorific value sensor will be shortly discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-71
Number of pages13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Calorific value sensor
  • Municipal solid waste combustion
  • Solid fuels observerair


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