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Coal

Grinding
Options

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Academy
Coal Processing

Majority of coal is pulverized before burning


Typically 80% passing 200 mesh (75 micron)

Pulverizing increases the surface area


Faster combustion More complete combustion

Pulverizing also increases tendency to auto-ignite

Raw coal does not present a deflagration hazard

but fires in storage piles and silos are not unusual.


Fires usually occur around perimeter or near surface
Sulphur and moisture are factors in stock pile fires, auto
oxidation is the primary mechanism

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Table 1. Coal terminology and rank
Rank &
% Volatile % Carbon Calorific range
subclass of Volatility
(by weight) (by weight) (Mj/kg)
Coal
Bituminous,
High < 31 % < 69 % > 32.7 %
Class A
Bituminous, 30.2 % ,
High < 31 % < 69 %
Class B < 32.7 %
Bituminous, 24.4% ,
High < 31 % < 69 %
Class C < 30.2 %
< 22 % , > 69 % Not
Bituminous Medium
< 31 % < 78 % specified
<14% , > 78%, Not
Bituminous low
< 22 % < 86% specified
Sub-bituminous, Not Not
Not 19.3% ,
A,B,C (moist, specified specified
specified < 26.8%
Mineral free)
Note: Analysis on a Dry, Mineral Free Basis
Considerations for grinding
& firing systems

Direct or Indirect Grinding


Choice of Mill Types
Compliance with applicable fire prevention codes
Flow characteristics of pulverized coal
Storage of Ground and Raw Coal
Weigh feeding choices
Conveying ground coal choices

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Grinding Mill

Ball Mills
Bowl Mills
Vertical Roller Mills
Roller (Pendulum) Mills
Jet Mills
Other Mills (Vertical Shaft Impactors and Variations)

Classifiers are needed for all mills.


Choice of Mill contingent upon many factors including:
Capital Cost
Operation Cost- Labor, Power, Maintenance Costs
Inert Operating Condition Requirement
Material Being Ground

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1 Ball Mills
Highest purchase and installation cost
Lowest efficiency
Limited drying capacity
Need for a separate classifier and extensive materials handling
systems
High in-leakage make these mills difficult to maintain an inert
environment
Best for grinding very hard materials (e.g. Pet Coke)

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2 Bowl Mills
Lowest cost option reconditioned units readily available in North
America
Efficient Grinding Power, adequate drying capacity
Retrofitted with a modern dynamic classifier to achieve product
fineness
European designed dynamic classifiers yield superior particle
size Distribution
North American designed dynamic classifiers are lower cost
Can be operated in inert or non-inert environment
Older units have high air in leakage

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2 Bowl Mills

Separator Top

Grinding Rolls

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3 Vertical Roller Mills
High performance dynamic
classifiers provide superior product
fineness control
More efficient in grinding power
and drying capacity than ball mills
Typically run for 1-2 years between
major maintenance
Can be operated in inert or non-
inert environment

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4 Roller (Pendulum) Mills
Lowest cost option of new mills
Efficient grinding power, good
drying capacity
Available with a modern dynamic
classifier to achieve fineness
Can be operated in inert or non-
inert environment

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Grinding/Firing System Options

Direct Grinding:
Fuel is ground and blown directly into the burner.
Mill sweep is primary air. Non-inert.
No pulverized fuel storage.
Has the advantage of simplicity for some systems.
May be less efficient due to higher primary air used.
Coal mill must operate at all times when burning coal.

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Grinding/Firing System Options

Indirect Grinding:
Fuel is pulverized and stored in a Pulverized Fuel (PF) bin.
PF is then metered to the burner as required.
Requires dust collection which can then become a
fire/explosion risk.
Better control of flame shape due to independent primary air
control.
Coal mill can be stopped for maintenance independent of firing
the burner..

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Coal Firing Concerns & Solutions
Fires in coal stockpiles and storage silos
Solutions
Stockpile Storage:
Compaction and stock rotation
Silo Storage:
Limit Air Flow, Ensure Mass Flow, Firefighting provision
Baghouses:
Design is critical, avoid dust accumulation, prevent
condensation, alarm for faulty cleaning system, prevent
static build-up, inert on shutdown.
Pulverized fuel storage:
Inert silo with N2 or CO2

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Coal Firing Concerns & Solutions
Explosions in pulverizing systems and secondary
explosions
Prevent ignition
Control auto ignition, sparking, high temperatures
Limit potential for explosions with
Inert atmosphere, OR
Deflagration venting devices, OR
Explosion suppression system
Containment
Mills are rated for 3.5 bar pressure containment

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Coal Firing Concerns & Solutions
Sulphur emissions- sulphur smell in stack gases
Solutions
Sulphur scrubbed in process or in dedicated scrubber
Consider Sulphuric Acid Dewpoint
Consider (Smelly gas) Hydrogen Sulphide and Carbonyl
Disulphide

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Coal Firing Concerns & Solutions
Heavy metals and Particulate
Coal trace elements or incomplete combustion
Solutions
Heavy Metals
Coal can contain some heavy metals such as mercury,
cadmium, etc.
These must be considered but are not necessarily a
problem.
This is process dependent.
Particulate
Ash must be considered. Possibly returned to the process.

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Sulphuric Acid Dewpoint

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Inert/Non-Inert Operations
Inert
The oxygen concentration below which a deflagration can occur is the limiting
oxygen concentration (LOC)
LOC for coal dust is 12% (USA)
Where a suitable low oxygen content gas is available, inert operation is a
good choice.
Gas quality should be low moisture, contain sufficient heat to dry the coal and
source should be reasonably close. Preheater and precalciner cement kiln
flue gas (300-350C , 5-6% H2O , 4%O2) is a good quality gas.
Some inert systems are designated self-inert
Can be recirculated mill exit gas- must watch moisture content
Steel mill blast furnace gas (<1% O2 )
Self-inert condition can be created by increasing moisture content of gas.
Consequences include higher energy needs, higher operating
temperatures and equipment corrosion considerations

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Inert/Non-Inert Operations
Non Inert
Oxygen content of mill sweep gas is usually above LOC (System does
not consistently qualify as inert)
Mill outlet temperature can be controlled by bleeding in ambient air
(simple control system)
Moisture content of gas in non-inert system with no recirculation is
always lower than a system with recirculation
Can be operated above the water dew point with less concern about
over drying the coal or driving volatile organic compounds out of the
coal
Oxygen analyzers not needed

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System Operating Conditions for Inert and Non-Inert Systems
Self Inert Inert Flue Gas Non Inert
Item
System System System
<10% during <10% during
Oxygen level in mill
operation, not at operation not at >10% at all times.
sweep air
start up. start up.
Dew Point of mill
~ 70 C <50 C <50 C
exhaust gases
Sulfuric Acid Dew >110 C. Influenced
Point of mill ~ 135 C to 140 C by sulphur content ~ 110 C.
exhaust gases of inert gas.
Mill exhaust gas
~100 C 65 C to 70 C 65 C to 70 C
temperature
Moisture content of
maximum volume Some recirculation
Recirculation of mil hot air source
(required for self reduces fuel
sweep air influences amount of
inert) consumption
recirculation
Theoretically lower Theoretically lower
Sources of ignition
Fire Risk except during start except during start
must be eliminated.
up and shut down up and shut down
Component Considerations
Type of Self Inert Inert Flue Gas Non Inert
System System System System
Leakage is not critical,
mill inlet gas
Air leakage into the Air leakage into the
temperature will need
Grinding Mill mill must be low at all mill must be low at all
to increase as in
times. times.
leakage
increases
Stainless Steel
Carbon Steel Normal. Carbon Steel Normal.
Process Ducting Consideration.
Process Dependent Process Dependent
Process dependent
Stainless steel
Mild steel
recommended for Mild steel construction
Mill Baghouses construction with
high moisture and with coating .
coating
elevated SO2 levels
Requirements based
Sized for entire heat
Hot Gas Sized for entire heat on amount and
requirement if waste
Generator requirement. quality of
heat is not available.
available waste heat
Inert Gas for May be used to create
Process initial inert None required None required
requirements conditions.
Recommendations
Coal is routinely ground in inert and non-inert systems
System selection is primarily based on the applications and availability of a
suitable gas to create the inert conditions
Engineering design of both inert and non-inert systems must prevent areas
where coal can accumulate.
Operating procedures must limit temperatures and control
moisture
Coal drying curves
Engineering controls
Monitoring of system upsets, such as temperature excursions, is similar for
inert and non-inert systems
The final system selection is process dependent. Economics, optimum
operating and maintenance costs and the other items discussed in this
presentation should be part of the decision process

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