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Infrasound soot cleaning VGB PowerTech 8 l 2013


Authors
Kurzfassung
Online Rublasen mit Infraschall
Das Unternehmen Infrafone wendet seit ber
30 Jahren Infraschalltechnik als Rublastech-
nik an. Die von Infrafone eingesetzte Rublas-
technik steigert die Effzienz sowie die Verfg-
barkeit und Reisezeit von grotechnischen und
auf Schiffen installierten Dampferzeugern.
Im vorliegenden Beitrag wird die von Infra-
fone eingesetzte Infraschalltechnik sowie deren
Wirkungsweise als Rublser dargestellt und
beschrieben. Es schliet sich ein Vergleich bzw.
eine Abgrenzung zur Hochton-Reinigungs-
technik an. Abschlieend werden anhand von
Fallstudien Ergebnisse und Einsparpotenziale
durch Infrafone-Rublastechnik aufgezeigt. l
Ph.D. ric Torra i Fernndez
Development Engineer
M.Sc. Martin Ellebro
Director Engineering
Infrafone AB
Stockholm/Sweden
Introduction
The paper is to provide a deeper insight
and better understanding of infrasound
cleaning. The authors try to summarise the
most important technical aspects of infra-
sound cleaning of heat exchange surfaces.
Infrafone, with headquarters in Stock-
holm, Sweden, is the oldest company in
the feld of soot cleaning using infrasound,
with more than 30 years of experience. The
technical development has resulted in a
very powerful product and acoustic model-
ling software that is unique. Infrafone has
installed infrasound cleaning equipment
on 65 waste-to-energy and bio-fuel boil-
ers (most of them during the last 8 years),
11 coal-fred boilers and 900 ships.
In power plants and heating plants, the
technology is mainly used for cost-effcient
on-line cleaning of soot (fy-ash) off econ-
omisers, tubular air preheaters, catalysts,
ducts, electrostatic precipitators (ESP),
and Ljungstrom air preheaters. Cleaning
of superheaters is possible if the soot build
up is not sticky. On marine cruise ships and
cargo ships the technology is used for on-
line cleaning of exhaust gas economisers,
ducts, and oil fred boilers.
Infrasound
The frequency of sound is related to the
wavelength according to the expression
= c/f. The wavelength is the distance
between two points of the same phase in
consecutive cycles of a wave. The speed of
sound in air is approximately 340 m/s at
room temperature. Hence high frequen-
cies of sound have short wavelengths and
low frequencies of sound have long wave-
lengths.
The infrasound cleaners are using infra-
sound as an acoustic cleaning method. The
infrasound is the sound produced at very
low frequencies, typically less than 20 Hz.
At room temperature a sound wave with
20 Hz will have a wavelength of around
17 m. However, a sound wave of 250 Hz
will only have a wavelength of 1.36 m.
From a cleaning point of view, low frequen-
cy sound has several advantages. One is
that infrasound is omnidirectional, which
means it spreads in all directions. Further-
more, sound absorption in tube bundles is
very low at these frequencies. This means
that the sound produced by infrasound
cleaners can reach all parts of a tube bun-
dles in for example an economiser, which
in many cases means a lower and more
stable differential pressure compared to
steam soot blowing.
Online soot cleaning using infrasound
ric Torra i Fernndez and Martin Ellebro
A third property of infrasound that is ad-
vantageous from a soot cleaning point of
view is the high degree of turbulence that
infrasound creates in the fue gas stream.
The typical fue gas velocities at heat ex-
changers in power plants are low and the
fue gas fow has a low degree of turbu-
lence. This results in areas with a very low
fue gas velocity near the surface of the
tube bundles. Soot particles accumulate in
these areas with low gas velocity and grow
to large deposits with time. For effcient re-
moval of the soot particles attached to the
heat exchangers or other surfaces with in-
frasound, the particle displacement of the
fue gas has to be maximised. The particle
displacement is the magnitude that is relat-
ed to the distance of the movement of the
particles when excited by a sound wave.
The particle displacement is inversely pro-
portional to the frequency. Thus, low fre-
quency sound as the infrasound results in
large particle displacement. The oscillation
with large particle displacement creates a
high degree of turbulence in the fue gas
and this high degree of turbulence around
the tubes of a heat exchanger helps to keep
the tube surface clean ( Fi gur e 1 and 2).
Infrafones infrasound cleaner is producing
sound just for a few seconds every few min-
utes. This means that the turbulence pro-
duced by the sound wave occurs typically
only during 1 to 2 seconds. The system
is a continuous and dry on-line cleaning
method since it operates every few min-
utes. The infrasound cleaners cannot clean
surfaces where the soot build up is sticky or
hard, i.e. they keep clean surfaces already
cleaned.
In summary, the main advantages of using
infrasound for cleaning are:
Large wavelengths,
Low sound absorption,
Omni-directionality,
Large particle displacement,
high turbulence,
Dry cleaning method,
Non-abrasive, and
Continuous cleaning method.
Acoustic modelling
Infrafone has developed an acoustic mod-
elling software that is used for simulating
the sound propagation in great detail. An
acoustic model is designed for each boiler
where an infrasound cleaner is to be in-
stalled. All the dimensions of the boiler
and the heat exchangers are introduced in
this model. Flue gas temperature distribu-
tion and fue gas velocity are also entered
since these are related to wavelength of the
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VGB PowerTech 8 l 2013 Infrasound soot cleaning
sound and attenuation of sound energy in
the tube bundles. By using the acoustic
model it is possible to choose the optimal
installation position, the optimal size, and
number of sonic cleaners as well as the fre-
quency of sound in order to obtain the re-
quired acoustic power in the desired clean-
ing area.
The model is always confrmed by carrying
out sound pressure level measurements in-
side the boiler ( Fi gur e 3).
Infrafones infrasound cleaners
The infrasound cleaner consists of an at-
tachment socket, a diffuser, a resonance
tube, a resonance chamber and a pulsator.
The attachment socket is welded directly to
the fue gas duct. The resonance tube can
be designed in different shapes in order
to ft in the installation position and sur-
roundings (Fi gur e 4 and 5).
The frequency of the infrasound can be
fne-tuned by a moveable plate inside the
resonance chamber. The total length of
the sonic cleaner can be adjusted in order
to obtain the desired frequency simply by
moving the resonance plate along the reso-
nance chamber.
The pulsator is placed on the top of the
resonance plate and is connected to a com-
pressed air source. The compressed air
should have a pressure of 6 to 8 bar(g). The
pulsator produces the air pulses that gen-
erate infrasound. It consists of a cylinder,
a piston, and a titanium spring. The axial
mechanical moving system is very simple
and can be easily maintained. There are
no rotational mechanisms involved and
no electric or electronic instrumentation is
required.
A unique feature of the infrasound cleaner
allows the pulsator to auto-regulate itself
by the positive feedback produced by the
refected acoustic waves in the resonance
tube. In this way, the maximum acous-
tic power is always generated by the in-
frasound cleaner independently of load
changes and changes in fue gas tempera-
ture in the boiler system. Without posi-
tive feedback, a change of some degrees
in temperature inside the boiler means a
decrease in acoustic power emitted by the
infrasound cleaner.
The acoustic power delivered is propor-
tional to the square of the cross section
area of the open end of a sonic cleaner. Inf-
rafone has several infrasound cleaner sizes.
The attachment sockets diameter of the
biggest and most powerful sonic cleaner is
1,500 mm.
The infrasound cleaner is very powerful,
so to prevent any movement of the sonic
cleaner, reinforcements around the at-
tachment to the boiler wall is generally
recommended. Infrafone has designed a
vibration damper that is tuned in for each
sonic cleaner, so vibrations transmitted to
the boiler are kept low. Infrafone also has
an automatic control system that mini-
mises the operating time of the infrasound
cleaners, which is also crucial for obtain-
ing high cleaning effect and low vibration
levels.
Comparison with sonic horns
Sound at the audible frequency range is
used by sonic horns which typically use
sound frequencies of around a few hun-
dred Hz, i.e. the area which they can keep
Laminar ow
Fig. 1. Laminar ow.
Turbulent ow
Fig. 2. Turbulent ow.
Cleaning
effect
Fig. 3. Acoustic model.
Attachment
socket
Pulsator
Resonance
chamber
Resonance tube
Diffuser
Fig. 4. Infrasonic cleaner.
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Infrasound soot cleaning VGB PowerTech 8 l 2013
clean is small due to the short acoustic
wavelengths.
Furthermore, the sound frequencies used
by sonic horns are not omnidirectional
and the sound absorption is much higher
for this sound frequency range than for in-
frasound. For this reason, sonic horns are
producing a local cleaning effect close to
the installation position. Due to the limited
cleaning range, several sonic horns must
be installed. However, just one, or in some
cases two, infrasound cleaners are usually
installed to cover a large cleaning area.
Furthermore there is a limit for how large
cross-section at the cleaning area that can
be cleaned by sonic horns due to the long
distance from the installation locations
at the walls to the middle parts of e.g. an
economizer.
Potential savings from using
infrasound cleaning
Reduced operational and maintenance
costs
Savings on operation of steam soot blow-
ing and shot cleaning
Saved steam can be used for increased
production or reduced fuel consumption
Savings on replacement of tubes in heat
exchangers through extended tube life-
time
Stable p, which means:
Less outages, increased availability,
higher energy production
Less outages, more burned waste
Less outages, improved working environ-
ment
Reduced fan power consumption
Lower risk for high fue gas velocity in lo-
cal areas
Savings on replacement of tubes in heat
exchangers through extended tube life-
time
Cleaner electrostatic precipitator, cata-
lyst
Compliance with environmental regula-
tions
Savings on replacement of catalyst ele-
ments through extended element life-
time
Case studies
E.ON Norrkping P14, Sweden,
75 MW
th
, boiler equipped with
circulating uidised bed combustion (CFB)
Commissioning: 2006
Cleaning area: Vertical economiser ( Fi g -
ur e 6)
Fuel: Industrial/household waste
Performance:
Steam soot blowing reduced from 3 to
4 times/day to once/week
Increased production of electricity
Less wear on economiser tube bundles
Lower and more stable differential pres-
sure, p than with steam soot blowing
operating 3 times/day.
SYSAV boiler 1&2 Malm, Sweden,
2 x 29 MW
th
, grate ring
Commissioning: 2008 and 2009
Cleaning area: vertical evaporator and
economiser
Fuel: Industrial/household waste
Performance:
Shot cleaning of the economiser (fue gas
temp 420 to 170C) has been turned off
Lower and more stable p over the econ-
omiser than with shot cleaning
The exhaust gas outlet temperature from
the evaporator is lower and stable
The soot deposits in the high-tempera-
ture area (fue gas temperature 680 to
600C) of the evaporator are now softer
and it takes longer time to build up
VAFAB Kping, Sweden,
12 MW
th
, grate ring
Commissioning: 2009
Cleaning area: Vertical evaporator and
economiser
Fuel: Industrial/household waste
Performance evaporator:
The steam soot blowers at fue gas tem-
perature range 470 down to 200C have
been turned off. Previous operation was
3 times/day
p is lower than with steam soot blowing
3 times/day
Fig. 5. Two infrasonic cleaners on top of economisers.
ECO 6
ECO 5
ECO 4
ECO 3
ECO 2
ECO 1
CONV
CONV
SH1
SH1
SH2
SH2
850 C
350 C
710 C
175 C
INFRAFONE
SONIC CLEANER
Fig. 6. Norrkping power plant.
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VGB PowerTech 8 l 2013 Infrasound soot cleaning
Performance economiser:
With the previously installed air cleaning
lances fue gas temp increased rapidly
With infrasound technology installed,
air cleaning lances were turned off and
the p and outlet temperature are now
on a stable low level the full season
E.ON Mora, Sweden, 8 MW
th
,
grate ring
Commissioning: 2010
Cleaning area: Vertical economiser
Fuel: Industrial/household waste
Performance:
The boiler has been in operation for two
years (since early 2011) without any
need for manual cleaning of the econo-
miser
The p is still low and stable
The differential temperature is still high
and stable
No other soot cleaning equipment in-
stalled
Mississippi Power Plant Daniel, USA,
2 x 535 MW
el
Commissioning: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005
Cleaning area: 4 x Ljungstrom air preheat-
ers size 24 and 2 x economiser
Fuel: Powder river basin coal (with low
heat value (8800 BTU/lb.) and high ash
content)
Performance:
Since installing the infrasound clean-
ers, the use of steam soot blowers for the
Ljungstrom air preheaters and econo-
mizers for both coal-fred boilers has
been eliminated.
EVO Offenbach, Germany,
2 x 110 MW
el
Commissioning: 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996
Cleaning area: 2 tubular air preheaters,
2 economisers, 2 superheaters
Fuel: Coal
Performance:
No soot-cleaning device was installed
from the beginning. Deposits reduced
the heat transfer considerably. Since
installing infrasound cleaners the clean-
ing results in both boilers are very good.
Load changes caused by clogging are no
longer a problem and the thermal eff-
ciency has increased by 1.5%.
Vattenfall Hamburg Tiefstack, Germany,
2 x 150 MW
el

Commissioning: 1997, 1999
Cleaning area: 2 x SCR honeycomb catalyst
on two identical boilers
Fuel: Hard coal
Performance:
Since installation in the end of the
1990s, the pressure drop over both cata-
lysts is being kept stable the whole op-
erating season. Infrasound cleaning is
the only soot cleaning equipment for the
catalysts.
Summary
Infrasound cleaning is a cost-effcient way
of keeping low-temperature areas clean,
such as economisers, air preheaters, cata-
lysts etc. The technique drastically elimi-
nates or reduces the need for other clean-
ing methods such as steam soot blowing,
shot cleaning, air soot blowing, detonation
cleaning, and manual cleaning. The return
of investment is typically short thanks to
e.g. higher availability, increased produc-
tion or reduced fuel consumption. l
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