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Aleksandar I. Ribi* *Institute Mihajlo Pupin Volgina 15 11060 Beograd

Abstract: To obtain high energy-efficient power plant operation it is necessary to efficiently control the steam pressure. Design and tuning of a high-performance controller requires an adequate dynamic model of the pressure control loop. Such dynamic model, for drum-type boilers, is developed in the paper. It is based on the functional representation of the plant and approximate dynamics of the coal feeder and mill, burner, furnace and evaporator. Basic assumptions and validity of the model are confirmed by measurements on the thermal power plant. Based on this model a high performance steam pressure controller is developed and successfully implemented. Key words: Thermal power plant, drum-type boilers, dynamic model, control 1. INTRODUCTION Steam pressure is one of the most important parameters for power plants efficiency. High steam pressure and temperature are the necessary conditions for achieving high (designed) efficiency of the power plant. However, both parameters are limited with the constraints of the drum and evaporator materials. Especially, boiler drum is protected with safety valves, taking out excess of the steam on high pressure. Activating this kind of the protection makes large disturbance to the drum level control and leading to the plant fallout and loss of several thousand . At the other side, stable and smooth steam pressure is a necessary condition for high-quality steam temperature and turbine control. Accordingly, steam pressure control have to provide low pressure variations enabling in that way pressure to be close to the safety limit, and not to exceed it. It is not an easy task in pulverized coal fired steam boiler, having large disturbances caused by the variable coal caloric content. A number of mathematical models [1], [2] have been developed to describe dynamics of steam boiler pressure. However, some unknown parameters (convection coefficients for example) prevent to obtain satisfactory approximation of the plant dynamics using only physical and geometrical parameters of the boiler. This paper is an attempt to obtain, from the available data, an adequate linear dynamic model of the drum-type boiler which can be used for obtaining a high performance steam pressure control system. 2. BOILER DESCRIPTION Schematic diagram representing basic structure of the boiler is presented on Fig.1. Coal feeder, at the beginning of the coal path, is used for dosing fuel into burners, by controlling the feeder motor speed v . Coal from feeder, falling from the level about 20 m into the mill, is pulverized into fine dust allowing fast burning into the furnace. Pulverized coal is further transported to burners by flue gas stream. Equivalent power content of that coal stream, that should be later released in the furnace, is denoted Qc . Coal dust is then burned in the burner in presence of fresh air. Released power in burner is denoted Qb . This power is then transferred to the surrounding flue gas forming a fire ball. From the fire ball, power denoted as Q f is further transferred to the water wall of the furnace. Transfer mechanism, due to high flue gas temperature of fire ball, is mostly based on thermal radiation. Energy is further conducted through the evaporator pipe on the mixture of water and saturated steam. Some small portion of this energy is then spent to heat subcooled water,

coming from boiler drum to the bottom of water-wall, to reach the boiling temperature. Main part of energy is, however, spent into water-to-steam conversion. This power is denoted as Qs . The resulting steam is then separated from the water in the boiler drum. Steam is further conducted to steam superheaters and further to the turbine. Corresponding mass flow is labeled M T . Pressure in the drum, denoted as p , is measured by appropriate sensor. Electrical signal from the sensor is denoted p s .



Fig.1. Drum-type boiler diagram.

From the previous description, it is intuitively clear that resulting dynamic model can be presented as a sequence of dynamic blocks representing particular stages in coal preparation and transfer of energy. Such diagram is presented in Fig.2. The parameters of each block will be explained below. Variables v , Qc and Qb on Fig.2 are normalized with regard to Q f .


e Lm s Tm s + 1


1 Tb s + 1


1 Tf s + 1


e Le s Qs Te s + 1 +

kd s

1 Ts s + 1


Fig.2. Equivalent block diagram of the drum-type boiler for dynamics studies.

3. FAN MILL DYNAMICS From the feeder tape, coal pieces falling down directly into the mill. This fall bring the time delay in transfer function of the mill. If we neglect aerodynamic forces and assume that coal parts falls freely, time delay is determined with 2h Lm = + Lm1 , (1) g

where h[m] denotes feeder altitude and g = 9.81[m / s 2 ] is gravitational constant. Lm1 denotes an additional time delay describing coal particle travelling from the mill up to the burner. For characteristic feeder altitude h = 20m and Lm1 0.5s , we obtain Lm 2.5s .
Since the passage of coal trough the mill-wheel is very fast, time constant in the model Tm has origin mainly in the mill separator and recirculation. The task of separator is to bring larger coal particles back to the mill, and smaller ones to the burner. Block diagram of the separator is presented in Fig.3.

1 Tmh s + 1

1 Cs


Cs 1 Cs

Fig.3. Block diagram of the mill separator.

C s represents circulating constant, i.e. C s = B / Bm , where B denotes total coal flow through the mill and Bm denotes coal flow to the burners. Time constant Tmh denotes mean holding time in separator. Typical values of these parameters are C s 2 and Tmh = 0.5 1s , resulting in equivalent mill time constant Tm = 1 2s (Fig.2).

Combustion of coal dust (especially in case of lignite, due to high content of volatile substances) is very fast, so burner dynamics in this analysis can be neglected ( Tb 0 ), compared with the dynamics of other components. In very rough approximation, we consider that burning energy is directly transferred to the fire ball. Fire ball dynamics is discussed in detail in [1], so only the final result will be given here in form of time constant T f . Accordingly, time constant is given by
Tf = c pf m f K f + c pf M fg , (2)

where c pf and m f denotes specific heat capacity and mass of flue gas contained in evaporator part of furnace, M fg [kg / s ] denotes flue gas flow through the furnace and K f is coefficient describing energy transfer from flue gas to evaporator pipes i.e. Q f = K f f , (3)

where symbol denotes change of a variable compared to its nominal value and f [ K ] is a temperature of the fire ball. Having in the mind that energy transfer is, due to the high flue gas temperature, dominantly radiation, and neglecting the return heat flux from pipes to flue gas [1], we have Q f = K f 1 f4 , (4) and according to (3) and (4) (5) K f = 4 K f 1 3 f .

Constant K f 1 can be calculated from the nominal regime. Neglecting the power spent on heating the subcooled water, it is obtained: (6) K f 1 4 = M snom Eenom , fnom

where M snom [kg / s ] is nominal steam production rate and Eenom [ J / kg ] is vaporization enthalpy on the nominal drum pressure.

Heat propagation through the evaporator pipe wall is described by partial differential equation: d (7) w c pw w w 2 w = 0, dt where w , w , c pw and w denotes wall temperature, density, specific heat capacity and specific
thermal conductivity and 2 denotes Laplace operator. Because the pipe wall is a much thinner than the pipe diameter, we can suppose that there is a temperature change only in one space dimension x . In that case the solution of (7) is defined by the following boundary conditions: inside of the tube w ( x, t ) x = D = ls , (8) and outside Q f (t ) ( x, t ) (9) w w . x =0 = x Sw S w denotes water-wall surface, ls denotes water saturation temperature, and D is the pipe wall thickness. For boundary conditions (8)-(9), from (7) one obtains w c pw 2 Q f (s) ( x, s ) (10) Qs ( s ) = w w D . , = x=D = w x cosh s For given value of , transfer function Gsf ( s ) = Qs ( s ) / Q f ( s) can be approximated by

e Le s (11) , Le = 0.095 , Te = 0.405 . Te s + 1 It should be noted here that boundary condition (8) is not fully satisfied. Namely, water saturation temperature ls inside the wall tube is not constant, but pressure dependent ls = ls ( p ) . In that way, there is a feedback from steam pressure. However, due to the small pressure variations, this feedback has minor influence on the transfer function (11). Gsf ( s ) =


The evaporated steam quantity, assuming drum water temperature drum ls w , is described by following equation: d ( p ) (12) Qs = (mw c pw + ml c pl ) ls + M s E ( p ), dt where mw , ml denotes pipes metal mass and mass of water in evaporator, c pl denotes specific heat capacity of water in evaporator, M s denotes evaporation rate and E ( p ) is vaporization enthalpy. Drum pressure dynamics is described with dp = k1 (M s M T) , (13) dt where M T is a turbine steam flow and k1 is the appropriate constant that can be determined experimentally [2],[3]. From (12) and (13) and substituting d l / dt = ( l / p )(dp / dt ) , one obtains
( mw c pw

+ ml c pl )

ls ( p) E ( p) dp + = Qs M T E ( p), p k1 ( p) dt


which at the end gives

kd =

1 . ( p ) E ( p ) (mw c pw + ml c pl ) ls + k1 ( p ) p


Verification of the proposed model was done on Power Plant Nikola Tesla 210 MW block A2 in Obrenovac. Values for Lm and Tm are, as in the section 3, Lm 2.5s and Tm 1s . Volume of the furnace is approximately 8000m 3 and nominal mean temperature in the furnace f 1270 K . It gives about
m f 2400kg







c pf = 1.3kJ / kg / K ,

M f 330 340kg / s , M snom = 180kg / s , Eenom 1MJ / kg . From (5) and (6) it is obtained K f = 567 kJ / K / s and from (2) T f = 3.1s . For evaporator pipes, it is given D = 5mm ,

= 7850kg / m 3 , c pw = 460 J / kg / K and 20W / m / K . From (11) it is obtained = 4.5s ,

Le = 0.43s and Te = 1.82 s . Sensor time constant for boiler is not known. In this paper it was assumed that Ts = 5s . This choice is common in many pressure measurement applications. As will be shown later, this value provides a good agreement with experimental data. The identification experiment is carried at the full load. 15-th order Pseudo-Random Binary Sequence (PRBS), used as a perturbation signal, is added to the nominal controller signal in closed loop. Identification signals are presented in Fig.4.
Identification signals 149 148 147 146 145 p









120 0 1000 2000 3000 Time [s] 4000 5000 6000

Fig.4. TENT-A2 Boiler identification signals.

Experiment lasted just over an hour and a half. The first 40 minutes generator power is controlled by power controller, acting on turbine controller. After that, power controller is switched to manual mode. A 100-th order ARX model of the plant is obtained from the experimental data. High order of the estimated model guarantees unbiased estimates of the transfer function, even in closed loop [4]. However, the obtained model, due to its high order, has a large variance. Accordingly, obtained impulse response is noisy. The reduction of the model variance is done using model order reduction as in [5]. Resulting model is continuous one in the form 1 + b1 s + ... + bm s m , (16) Gmr ( s ) = a0 + a1 s + ... + a n s n with m = 5 and n = 10 . Now, integral gain parameter k d is matched with transfer function (16), giving k d = 1.8 10 3 [ s 1 ] . Impulse responses of the experimental and proposed models are shown on Fig.5.

2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0

x 10


Impulse response

-0.5 -10


20 Time [s]




Fig.5. TENT-A2 Boiler impulse response for drum pressure: 100-th order ARX model - thin line, reduced continuous model dashed, proposed model solid.
180 170 160 p 150 140 130 120 110 100 90 80 0 100 200 v pt v PG

300 Time [min]




Fig.6. TENT-A2 Boiler at operation.

Pressure controller for experimental block design and tuning is based on impulse response from Fig.5, obtained reduced model (16). Design and tuning is explained in detail in [5]. Ten hours of the plant is presented on Fig.6. In adopted control scheme, controlled variable is steam pressure at turbine valve , designated as pt . It is controlled using drum pressure p . At inner loop, drum pressure is controlled using feeder velocity v . As can be seen, turbine pressure is held closely to the reference value 127 bar, despite large coal caloric content variations and power generation PG .

Linear, reduced order continuous model of the drum type boiler is developed in the paper. Model is based on the simplified representation of essential processes in coal mill, furnace and evaporator. As demonstrated on real power plant, obtained model is quite accurate representation of the process dynamics, for small deviations from reference. As the proposed model impulse response is very close to the one estimated from plant data and used for controller design and tuning, it is obvious that the proposed model can be further used for analysis, design and tuning of the pressure controller.

[1] Profos, P., Die Regelung von Dampflangen, Springer-Verlag, Berlin/Gttingen/Heidelberg, 1962 [2] de Mello, F. P., BOILER MODELS FOR SYSTEM DYNAMIC PERFORMANCE STUDIES, IEEE Trans. On Power Systems, Vol.6 No.1, (1991), pp. 66-74

[3] strm, K. J., Bell, R.D., Drum-boiler dynamics, Automatica, Vol.36, Issue 3, (2000), pp. 363378 [4] Ljung, L., System Identification Theory for the user, Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 1999. [5] Ribi, A. I., The development of a new industrial controller: structure, models, tuning and realization with application on thermal power plants, Ph. D. thesis (in Serbian), University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia, 2010.