Sensor for Individual Burner Control of Coal Firing Rate, Fuel-Air Ratio and Coal Fineness Correlation

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Accurate, cost-efficient monitoring instrumentation has long been considered essential to the operation of power plants. Nonetheless, for the monitoring of coal flow, such instrumentation has been sorely lacking and technically difficult to achieve. With more than half of the electrical power in the United States currently supplied by coal, energy generated by this resource is critical to the US economy. The demand for improvement in this area has only increased as a result of the following two situations: First, deregulation has produced a heightened demand for both reduced electrical cost and improved grid connectivity. Second, environmental concerns have simultaneously resulted ... continued below

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Demler, R. April 1, 2006.

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Description

Accurate, cost-efficient monitoring instrumentation has long been considered essential to the operation of power plants. Nonetheless, for the monitoring of coal flow, such instrumentation has been sorely lacking and technically difficult to achieve. With more than half of the electrical power in the United States currently supplied by coal, energy generated by this resource is critical to the US economy. The demand for improvement in this area has only increased as a result of the following two situations: First, deregulation has produced a heightened demand for both reduced electrical cost and improved grid connectivity. Second, environmental concerns have simultaneously resulted in a need for both increased efficiency and reduced carbon and NOx emissions. A potential approach to addressing both these needs would be improvement in the area of combustion control. This would result in a better heat rate, reduced unburned carbon in ash, and reduced NOx emissions. However, before feedback control can be implemented, the ability to monitor coal flow to the burners in real-time must be established. While there are several ''commercially available'' products for real-time coal flow measurement, power plant personnel are highly skeptical about the accuracy and longevity of these systems in their current state of development. In fact, following several demonstration projects of in-situ coal flow measurement systems in full scale utility boilers, it became obvious that there were still many unknown influences on these instruments during field applications. Due to the operational environment of the power plant, it has been difficult if not impossible to sort out what parameters could be influencing the various probe technologies. Additionally, it has been recognized for some time that little is known regarding the performance of coal flow splitters, even where rifflers are employed. Often the coal flow distribution from these splitters remains mal-distributed. There have been mixed results in the field using variable orifices in coal pipes. Development of other coal flow control devices has been limited. An underlying difficulty that, to date, has hindered the development of an accurate instrument for coal flow measurements is the fact that coal flow is characterized by irregular temporal and spatial variation. However, despite the inherent complexity of the dynamic system, the system is in fact deterministic. Therefore, in principle, the coal flow can be deduced from the dynamics it exhibits. Nonetheless, the interactions are highly nonlinear, rendering standard signal processing approaches, which rely on techniques such as frequency decomposition, to be of little value. Foster-Miller, Inc. has developed a methodology that relates the complex variation in such systems to the information of interest. This technology will be described in detail in Section 2. A second concern regarding the current measurement systems is installation, which can be labor-intensive and cost-prohibitive. A process that does not require the pulverizer to be taken off line would be highly desirable. Most microwave and electrostatic methods require drilling up to 20 holes in the pipe, all with a high degree of precision so as to produce a proper alignment of the probes. At least one electrostatic method requires a special spool piece to be fitted into each existing coal pipe. Overall, these procedures are both difficult and very expensive. An alternative approach is pursued here, namely the development of an instrument that relies on an acoustic signal captured by way of a commercial accelerometer. The installation of this type of sensor is both simpler and less invasive than other techniques. An accelerometer installed in a pipe wall need not penetrate through the wall, which means that the system may be able to remain on line during the installation. Further, due to the fact that the Dynamical Instruments technology, unlike other systems, does not rely on uniformity of the air or coal profile, the installation location need not be on a long, straight run of pipe. In fact, an optimal signal is obtained near a pipe elbow. This is fortuitous, as bends are often more accessible on pipes in a power plant than straight sections. In contrast to measurement systems that rely on the uniformity of the air and coal profile, the accuracy of the system under development will not compromised by varying levels of flow uniformity.

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  • Report No.: none
  • Grant Number: FC26-03NT41846
  • DOI: 10.2172/885480 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 885480
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc892529

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  • April 1, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 23, 2016, 2:42 p.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Dec. 1, 2016, 7:52 p.m.

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Demler, R. Sensor for Individual Burner Control of Coal Firing Rate, Fuel-Air Ratio and Coal Fineness Correlation, report, April 1, 2006; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc892529/: accessed November 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.