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Boiler Performance

Presentation Coverage Introduction Factors affecting Boiler Performance Testing Techniques & Performance Optimisation

200 MW BHEL Boiler

500 MW BHEL Boiler

500 MW Talcher NTPC

Factors affecting Boiler Performance

Boiler performance depends on Boiler design Coal Quality Operating practices / parameters Component condition

Boiler Performance Characterisation

Combustion / Thermal Efficiency - Conversion of chemical heat in fuel to production of steam adequate Time / Temperature / Turbulence Auxiliary Power Consumption The total power being consumed by ID, FD, PA fans and the mills.

Effect of Boiler side Parameters (Approx.)

OFF Design/Optimum Conditions Parameter Excess Air (O2) Exit Gas Temp Unburnt Carbon Coal moisture Boiler Efficiency Deviation per % per oC per % per % per % Effect on Heat Rate 7.4 Kcal/kWh 1.2 Kcal/kWh 10-15 Kcal/kWh 2-3 Kcal/kWh 25 Kcal/kWh

Boiler Control Volume

Factors affecting Boiler efficiency include

Design Coal Quality Mill Performance - PF Fineness Burner-to-burner PF balance Excess Air Level Boiler Air Ingress AH Performance Furnace / Convective section Cleanliness Quality of Overhauls Water Chemistry, boiler loading, insulation etc.

Efficiency Vs Moisture in Coal Assumptions

Exit Gas Temp - Constt. Fuel Moisture - 20.5 % Excess Air - 20 % GCV - 3700 kal/kg

Efficiency Vs Hydrogen in Coal Assumptions

Exit Gas Temp - Constt. Fuel Hydrogen - 2.33 % Excess Air - 20 % GCV - 3700 kal/kg

Efficiency Vs HHV of Coal Assumptions

Exit Gas Temp - Constt. Fuel Moisture - Constt Fuel Hydrogen - Constt Excess Air - 20 % GCV - 3700 kal/kg

Efficiency Vs Excess Air Assumptions

Exit Gas Temp - Constt. Ambient Temp - 27 C GCV - 3700 kal/kg

Efficiency Vs Ambient Temp / RH Assumptions

Exit Gas Temp - Constt. Excess Air - 20 % GCV - 3700 kal/kg

The Coal
Proximate Analysis, Ultimate Analysis, Calorific Value, Ash Constituents, Ash Fusion Temperatures, FC/VM ratio, Hard Grove Index, YGP (Yeer Geer Price) Index Typical Proximate Coal Analysis - Fixed Carbon - 32.4 %, Volatile matter - 21.6 %, Moisture 16.0 %, Ash 30.0 %, GCV 4050 kcal/kg +ve aspects - Low Sulfur, Low chlorine, Low iron content and High Ash fusion temp -ve aspects - High ash, moisture, high silica / alumina ratio, low calorific value, high electrical resistivity of ash, Variation in heating values, moisture, ash content and volatile matter


Coal Composition Different bases of representation

As fired basis Air dry basis Dry basis Dry & Ash free basis Ultimate Proximate Ash A Coke C FC H O N S VM Volatile Mi M M

Changes in Coal Quality - Coal characteristics decide

the heat release rates, furnace wall conditions and consequently the furnace heat transfer Deterioration in Coal quality affects boiler capability to operate at rated parameters. Change in coal quality affects capacity, efficiency and combustion stability. Increase in moisture affects mill drying, tempering air requirement, gas velocities, ESP & Boiler efficiency. Ash quality / quantity affects boiler erosion, mill wear, slagging and fouling propensity, ash handling system, sprays, sootblowing etc. Change in coal characteristics affects mill wear parts life & throughput of Pulverizers. Increased dust loading & change in dust characteristics may affect ESP performance.


1.6 MILL OUTPUT X 100% CAPACITY FACTOR 1.2 0.8 0.4 0 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95 100 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 40 50 60 70 80 90 100






1 0.95

0.9 0.85 0 4 8 12 16 20 % MOISTURE

PF fineness
Fineness is expressed as the percentage pass through a 200mesh screen (74m). Coarseness is expressed as the percentage retained on a 50mesh screen (297m). Screen mesh - number of openings per linear inch. Typical recommended value of pulverised fuel fineness through 200 mesh Sieve is 70% and 1% retention on 50 mesh sieve. Flyash is over 80% of total ash, So its important to test for unburnt carbon; For monitoring unburnts in bottom ash, a visual in shift beginning or after mill change overs is required.

PF fineness is influenced by
Coal Quality Mill loading, settings, mill problems PA flows / velocities Sampling Techniques Conventional Cyclone / ASME Sampler 64 point rotary sampler Sampling location Near mill / burner single pipe / average Manual / motorised sieve shaker


Excessive PF fineness would cause

Reduction in mill capacity Increased mill component wear Increased mill and fan power combustion Excessive PF fineness may not necessarily result in improved combustion

Burner Imbalance
Mill discharge pipes offer different resistance to the flows due to unequal lengths and different geometry layouts. Fixed orifices are put in shorter pipes to balance velocities / dirty air flow / coal flows. The sizes of the orifices are specified by equipment supplier.

B 2

E 3


1 4

Control Room

TANGENTIAL FIRING Uneven fuel and air distribution can result in High unburnt carbon in flyash Non - uniform release and absorption of heat across the furnace resulting in temperature imbalance Reducing furnace leading to slagging and fouling High furnace and boiler exit gas temperatures Water wall wastage and tube metal overheating

Burner Imbalance
Primary Air Flow Coal Flow Dirty air flow distribution should be with in +/- 5.0% of the average of fuel pipes Coal distribution should be with in +/-10% of the average of fuel pipes Balanced Clean air flows do not necessarily result in balanced Dirty air flows.

Rotary Sampler (For coal sample from mill discharge pipes)

Instruments for on line measurement of PF flow based Electrostatic detection, Microwave injection and Acoustics are commercially available.

Demo in Mill 1A Unchahar (May07-Oct07)

Real Time feedback on Dirty air & PA flow velocities in PF pipes Dirty Air balance by use of variable orifices in PF pipes Accurate Primary Air Flow Measurement (Electrostatic detection)

System Hardware 2X2 sensors in PA duct 2X1 sensors in each discharge pipe of Mill 1A Instrument Cabinet in Control room Manually operated orifices in PF pipes

Burner PF balance checking Tests 210MW (May06)

Measured temperatures of dirty air at burners were lower than mill outlet temperatures; Attended during unit s/d
Mill 5 A Comparison of Mill outlet temp with individual pipe temp Test Date 24.02.06 18.05.06 UCB Temp C 90 86 Corner 1 72.1 83.6 Corner 2 76.6 83.2 Corner 3 74.1 82.1 Corner 4 71.3 81.6 Diff. C 16 3.3

High absolute velocities of dirty air ~ 28-30 m/s (High PA header pressure ~ 930 mmWC) +50 fineness fractions of mills D & E ~ 5% - high unburnt C in bottom ash

Excess Air
Typically 20 % excess air is recommended for boiler operation; Actual optimal value would vary from boiler to boiler depending on coal quality, fineness and other operating practices. Optimum level of oxygen could be less than value specified by OEM. O2 instruments are installed at the economizer exit, where they can be influenced by air infiltration. The O2 reading in control room may not be necessarily representative of the actual O2 in furnace.

Excess air is amongst the most important factors affecting boiler performance
Variation of Oxygen & Temp across at RH Inlet Left & Right side 210 MW (May'07)
1000 5

Temperature C


600 400

3 2


UCB O2 (L/R): 1.8/2.1 % After Zir. calibration: 3.4/3.35 %

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Oxygen %

Excess Air
C + O2 =

- CO monitors a must for boilers


8084 kcal / kg of Carbon 2430 kcal / kg of Carbon 28922 kcal / kg of H 2224 kcal / kg of Sulphur

2C+ O2 = 2H2+ O2 = S + O2 =

2CO + 2H2O + SO2 +

All boilers need to be equipped with On line CO monitors at Eco Outlet / ID fan discharge. We lose 5654 kcal for each kg of CO formed. Ideally, average CO at gooseneck after combustion completion should be below 100 ppm and no single value over 200 ppm

Excess Air
Low excess air operation can lead to unstable combustion (furnace puffs) slagging of waterwalls and SH sections loss in boiler efficiency due to increased CO / unburnt combustibles High excess air operation can lead to Increased boiler losses High SH / RH temperatures Higher component erosion

Boiler Air Ingress

Cold air leaks into the boiler from openings in the furnace and convective pass and through open observation doors. Some of the boiler leakage air aids the combustion process; some air that leaks into the boiler in the low temperature zones causes only a dilution of the flue gas. This portion of air appears as a difference in O2 level between the furnace exit and oxygen analysers at economizer exit. Actual oxygen in the furnace could be much less. Also, boiler casing and ducting air ingress affects ID fans power consumption and margins in a major way.

Air Ingress Points Furnace Roof , Expansion joints, Air heaters, Ducts, ESP Hoppers, Peep Holes, Manholes, Furnace Bottom

Furnace Outlet Zirconia O2 Probe Expansion Joints AH Seal Lkg ESP

Typical Air ingress Penthouse & 2nd pass ~ 0-5% Air heaters ~ 12-20% (tri sector) AH outlet to ID suction ~ 5 to 9%.

Air Ingress
The difference between oxygen at furnace outlet (HVT) and economizer outlet (zirconia) was in the range of 1.0 to 2.5 % in many boilers. Apart from degradation of AH baskets performance, another reason for lower heat recovery across air heaters is boiler operation at lesser SA flows due to high air-in-leakage. Replacement of Metallic / Fabric Expansion joints in 10 years / 5 years cycle recommended.

Boiler Air Ingress

Air ingress can be quantified by the increase in oxygen % in flue gas; The temperature drop of the flue gas from air heater outlet to ID fan discharge also provides an indication of the same.
Oxygen % at various locations in boiler
10 8

O2 %

6 4 2 0

Furn Outlet
210 MW

AH Inlet
210 MW

AH Outlet
500 MW

ID outlet
210 MW

Air Heaters
Factors affecting performance include Operating excess air levels PA/SA ratio Inlet air / gas temperature Coal moisture Air ingress levels Sootblowing No. of mills in service

Air Heaters
Factors affecting performance include PA Header Pressure High pressure results in increased AH leakage, higher ID fan loading, higher PA fan power consumption, deteriorates PF fineness & can increase mechanical erosion Upstream ash evacuation Maintenance practices Condition of heating elements, seals / seal setting, sector plates / axial seal plates, diaphragm plates, casing / enclosure, insulation

Boiler Exit Gas Temperature

Ideal flue gas temperature at stack outlet should be just above the dew point to avoid corrosion; Higher gas temperatures reduce efficiency; Possible causes of temperature deviations are Dirty heat transfer surfaces High Excess air Excessive casing air ingress Fouled/corroded/eroded Air heater baskets Non - representative measurement Contd..


Major auxiliaries Consuming Power in a Boiler are FD fans, PA fans, ID fans and mills. Reasons for higher APC include * * * * * Boiler air ingress Air heater air-in-leakage High PA fan outlet pressure Degree of Pulverisation Operation at higher than optimum excess air

Main Steam/ Reheated Steam Temperature

While an increase in steam temperatures is beneficial to Turbine Cycle Heat Rate, theres no benefit to boiler efficiency, infact it affects reliability adversely.

Testing Techniques & Performance Optimisation

Test Objective To generate feedback for opn & mtc.

To determine current boiler efficiency levels To determine each component of the heat loss to find the reasons for deterioration To establish the cost / benefit of annual boiler O/H To establish baseline performance data on the boiler after major equipment modifications To build a database for problem solving and diagnosis

Suggested Frequency of Testing

Frequency Pre/Post O/H Quarterly Quarterly Pre/Post O/H & Six monthly

Dirty Air Flow AH Perf. Test Boiler Efficiency FG Path O2 mapping

Boiler & Air Heater Tests

Tests to be conducted under defined operating regime (O2 level / PA Header Pressure / no. of mills) at nominal load

Pre Test Stabilisation Period

Prior to the test run, equipment must be operated at steady state conditions to ensure that there is no net change in energy stored in steam generator envelope. Minimum Stabilisation Time - 1 hour

Pre Test Checks

Sootblowing completed at least one hour before start of the test Steam coil air preheaters steam supply kept isolated All feedwater heaters in service with normal levels, vent settings and with normal drain cascading No sootblowing or mill change over during the test. In case oil guns are used, the test shall be repeated Air heater gas outlet dampers are modulated to ensure minimum opening of cold air dampers to mills Auxiliary steam flow control kept isolated or defined during the test. CBD / IBD blowdowns kept isolated for the test duration Bottom hopper deashing after completion of test and not during the tests

Test Duration
Should be sufficient to take care of deviations in parameters due to controls, fuel variations & other operating conditions. When point by point traverse of Flue gas ducts is done, test should be long enough for atleast two traverses. In case of continuous Data Acquisition System & use of composite sampling grids, shall be based on collection of representative coal & ash samples. Could be 1/2 to 2 hours in case of parametric optimisation tests or 4 hours for Acceptance Tests.

Frequency of Observations
Parameter readings to be taken at a maximum interval of 15 minutes & a preferred interval of 2 minutes or less

Measurements during a Boiler Test

Coal Sample for Proximate analysis & GCV Bottom Ash and Flyash Samples Flue Gas Composition at AH Outlet Flue Gas Temperature at AH Inlet / Outlet Primary / Secondary air temp at AH inlet / outlet Dry / Wet bulb temperatures Control Room Parameters

(All measurements / sampling to be done simultaneously)

Coal Sampling
Coal Samples are drawn from all individual running feeders from sampling ports in feeder inlet chutes Composite sample is collected from all running feeders One sample is sealed in an air tight container for total moisture determination

Flyash Sampling
Flyash is collected in several hoppers as Flue Gas goes to stack; Heavier particles fall out first due to turns in gas stream Relative distribution of ash to various hoppers is not accurately known Preferred way to collect a) a representative sample b) sample of the test period is to use High Volume Sampler probes on both sides of boiler

High Volume Sampler

This sampler uses 2-3 ksc air through an aspirator to create vacuum to pull out a large volume of flue gas & ash into probes canister; A filter catches the ash but allows the gas to pass through.

Bottom Ash Sampling

Bottom ash samples are collected every 15 minutes from the scrappers system during the test In case of impounded hoppers, incremental samples are collected from bottom ash hoppers disposal line at slurry discharge end Unburnt carbon is determined as LOI (Loss on Ignition)

Test Locations - AH Inlet & Outlet

Inlet Sampling plane to be as close to AH as possible; Outlet grid to be a little away to reduce stratification AH hopper / Manhole air ingress can influence test data
FG Expansion Bellow

Economizer APH APH Sampling Locations


Sampling Ports in Flue Gas Ducts (Typical )


Sampling Point for Flue Gas Temperature & Composition

Gas Duct is divided into equal cross-sectional areas and gas samples are drawn from each center using multi point probes or point by point traverse

HVT - High Velocity Thermocouple Probe - A Diagnostic Tool

To establish furnace gas exit temp profile To establish CO & O2 profile at furnace outlet To confirm proper distribution of fuel and air To quantify air ingress between furnace outlet and AH inlet

Typical problems
High Economiser / AH exit gas temperature Air ingress from furnace bottom, penthouse and second pass Boiler operation at high excess air Metal temperature excursions High Unburnt carbon in ashes Uneven Flyash Erosion Flame failures Shortfall in steam temperatures Imbalance in Left - Right steam temperatures

Boiler Parametric Optimisation

A structured exercise to evolve an optimum operating regime for a boiler; a set of operating parameters and equipment settings for safe, reliable and efficient operation. To establish interrelationships between different operating parameters. To build a repeatable database for problem solving and diagnosis by various parametric tests. All the more necessary when firing blended coals.


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