For clean and efficient energy generation from coal, the most suitable technology known to date is 'Fluidized Bed Combustion' technology. Applications of circulating fluidized bed (CFB) combustion technology have been steadily increasing in both capacity and number over the past decade. Designs of these units have been based on the combustion tests carried out in pilot scale facilities to determine the combustion and desulfurization characteristics of coal and limestone reserves in CFB conditions. Similarly, utilization of Turkish lignites in CFB boilers necessitates adaptation of CFB combustion technology to these resources. However, the design of these test units are not based on firing coals with high ash, volatile matter and sulfur contents like Turkish lignites. For this purpose, a 150 kWt CFB combustor test unit is designed and constructed in Chemical Engineering Department of Middle East Technical University, based on the extensive experience acquired at the existing 0.3 MWt Bubbling Atmospheric Fluidized Bed Combustor (AFBC) Test Rig. Following the commissioning tests, a combustion test is carried out for investigation of combustion characteristics of an lignite in CFB conditions and for assessment of the design of test unit. Comparison of the design outputs with experimental results reveals that most of the predictions and assumptions have acceptable agreement with the operating conditions. In conclusion, the performance of 150 kWt CFBC Test Unit is found to be satisfactory to be utilized for the long term research studies on combustion and desulfurization characteristics of indigenous lignite reserves in circulating fluidized bed combustors. (C) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.