Fouling in biomass fired boilers

University dissertation from Institutionen för samhällsteknik

Abstract: In order to reduce the discharge of the greenhouse gas CO2, the use of biomass is nowadays promoted as fuel in boilers. Compared to boilers fired with coal and oil the biomass-fired boilers have more complications related to both fouling and corrosion on the heat transfer surfaces. After the combustion, unburned inorganic matter in state of vapour, melts and solid particles are transported in the flue gas and may form deposits on heat transfer surfaces.Deposits on the heat transfer surfaces may result in both increasing corrosion and decreasing boiler efficiency as the heat transfer rate to the superheaters and reheaters decrease by deposits.In order to understand the process of deposit build-up, the whole combustion and transport process had to be analysed including aspects such as, boiler design, fuel properties and combustion environment, followed by particle transport phenomena and the probability for particles to get stuck on the heat transfer tubes.In this thesis numerical simulation of particle trajectories has been conducted as well as measurements of deposits on a special designed deposit probe followed by investigation of on-site measurements of deposit depth on the super-heater tubes in a circulating fluidised bed in Västerås, Sweden.Numerical simulations of particle trajectories in the vicinity of two super-heater tubes were conducted in an Eulerian-Lagrangian mode considering the flue gas and ash particles phase. Particle impingements on the tubes were investigated for different particle sizes. The results from the particle trajectory simulations show that particle larger than 10 µm will mainly impinge on the windward side of the first tube but, however also on the sides of the second tube in the flue gas flow direction. In theory as well as from observations and measurements two tubes can merge together by the deposit build-up. Smaller particles are usually more dispersed due to turbulence and thermophorectic forces, resulting in a more even impingement distribution on the whole surface of the tubes.Probe measurements reveal that the deposit layer growth rate have a significant temperature and time dependence. After the initial deposit build-up a sintering process occurs and sintering is also proven to be dependent on temperature and exposure time.Soot-blowing is the most common method to reduce the effect of deposits on the heat transfer tubes. In the present thesis the soot boiling efficiency is therefore also investigated. The soot-blowing show a strong positive effect on the heat transfer rate in a short time (hours) perspective after a soot-blowing cycle is completed. This positive effect is much weaker when considering a time period of three years. This is an effect of fact that soot-blowing mostly remove the loose part of the deposit material leaving the hard sintered part unaffected.The subject of deposit build up on superheater tubes in large scale boilers involves multi-discipline knowledge and historically, the related research is mostly conducted as measurements and experiments on operating plants. Possibly in the future, theoretical simulations will have a bigger part of research on deposit build-up where the calculations are to be calibrated through measurements on real sites plants.

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