To increase the waste heat recovery (WHR) efficiency of gas boiler and decrease NOx emissions, a flue gas total heat recovery (FGTHR) system integrating direct contact heat exchanger (DCHE) and combustion air humidification (CAH) is put forward. The experimental bench and technical and economic analysis models are setup to simulate and evaluate the WHR performance and NOx emissions on various operation situations. The results show that when the air humidity ratio elevates from 3 g/kgdry air to 60 g/kgdry air, the dew point temperature increases by 7.9 °C. When the flue gas temperature approaches the dew point temperature, the rate of improvement of the FGTHR system's total heat efficiency notably rises. With spray water (SW) flow rate and temperature of 0.075 kg/s and 45 °C, the WHR efficiency relatively increases by up to 8.4%. The maximum sensible and latent heat can be recovered by 4468 w and 3774 w, respectively. The flue gas temperature can be reduced to 46.55 °C and the average NOx concentration is 39.6 mg/m3. Compared with the non-humidified condition, the NOx and CO2 emissions relative reduction of the FGTHR system are 61.2% and 8.7%. The payback period of FGTHR system is 2 years. Through simulation, it can be concluded that the decrease in exhaust flue gas temperature and velocity, as well as the increase in exhaust flue gas humidity, have a negative impact on the diffusion of NOx in the atmosphere.

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