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Basic Combustion Techniques

Part 6: Safe firing during startup

Incident summary
On 9 Dec 2000, at about 2:30am, three personnel were
trying to re-start the boiler when an explosion occurred inside
the furnace of the boiler.
The three personnel were badly injured with more than 50%,
2nd degree burns on their bodies.
Two of them subsequently passed away later in the hospital:
Deceased 1 - Technician/ Male / 23 yrs old
Deceased 2 - Technician/ Female / 21 yrs old
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Smoldering Fires

THE FIRE TRAINGLE


-
, ,

- (16 %)

Flammability range
Component
H2
CH4
C2H2
C2H4
C2H6
C3H6
C3H8
iC4H10
nC4H10
iC5H12
nC5H12
CO
H2S
CH3OH

LFL
4.1
5.0
1.5
2.6
3.2
2.0
2.1
1.9
1.6
1.4
1.3
12.5
4.3
6.7

% vol. in mixture with air


STOICH.
HFL
29.53
74
9.48
15
7.73
82
6.53
34
5.65
12.5
4.45
11.7
4.02
9.5
3.12
8.5
3.12
8.5
2.55
7.8
2.55
7.6
29.53
74
12.25
46
12.25
36
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Auto ignition temperature


Acetaldehyde
Acetone
Acetylene
Benzene
Bituminous coal
Butane

Temperature
(oC)
175
465
305
560
300
420

(oF)
347
869
581
1040
572
788

Carbon

700

1292

Fuel or Chemical

Carbon - bi sulfide
Carbon monoxide
Charcoal
Coal-tar oil
Coke
Cyclohexane
Diethyl ether
Ethane
Ethylene
Ehtyl Alcohol
Fuel Oil No.1

609

580
700
245
160
515
490
365
210

300
1128
660
1076
1292
473
320
859
914
689
410

Auto ignition temperature


Fuel or Chemical

Temperature
(oC)

(oF)

n-Butane

405

761

n-Heptane

215

419

n-Hexane

225

437

n-Octane

220

428

n-Pentane

260

500

n-Pentene

298

569

Oak Wood - dry

900

Peat

227

440

Petroleum

400

752

Pine Wood - dry

800

Phosphorous, transparent

120

Production gas

750

1382

Propane

480

842

Propylene

458

856

p-Xylene

530

986

Toluene

530

849

Semi anthracite coal

400

752

Styrene

490

914

Wood

300

572

Xylene

463

867

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Consideration
Oxygen : Force draught Fan and Draught Control

Heat : Chamber temperature and Ignition source


Fuel : Time that fuel is introduced to a
burner
(LEL - UEL)
To be limited to reduce
a large amount of fuel
accumulated before
get a flame

A Heat Released of 370 kJ/M3 can result about


50 mbar pressure rise !!!!
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Explosion Hazard
Most of explosions occur when the equipment involved in a
state of change such as startup and shutdown.
The most common source of furnace explosion is come from:
Lacking knowledge of the lighting procedure
Do not aware an accumulation of flammable gas inside the
furnace per time spent,
Unsuccessful in the first attempt to ignite burner in
accordingly with the purging period and
Failure of all safety devices.
HOW TO PROTECT?

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Lacking knowledge of the lighting procedure

Training

An accumulation of flammable gas inside the furnace per


time spent Fuel characteristic, flame ability diagram and
auto ignition.
Unsuccessful in the first attempt to ignite burner in
accordingly with the purging period Purging time before
start the second attempt.
Failure of safety devices. Maintenance and wettest

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An attempt for Ignition time is determined by:


1. Burner load (flammable mixture generation)

2. A furnace volume (% volume of flammable mixture accumulated


inside)
3. Purging condition
4. Safety process design
Normally attempt for ignition should not over 5 second!!!!
Delayed time before start the second attempt shall not less than 5
minute and longer if the furnace is natural draft system.

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Ignition (control) is the process through which combustion is initiated and


occurs when a flammable mixture of fuel and oxidizer comes in contact with
a suitable ignition source.
The minimum ignition energy is the minimum energy required to initiate
combustion, and can be obtained through a variety of source. The minimum
energy requirement creates a safety margin in terms of an attempt for
ignition time.
For a small furnace, the ignition control system should be
designed in automatic start up with flame detector and pilot
burner.

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STANDARD SCHEMES
Examples of the relevant design engineering practice and
standard drawings for design & engineering of control &
safeguarding systems.
DEP

Relevant S-Drawing

Description

32.24.20.30

S 24.026-C (gas only)


S 24.024-B (dual fuel)

System for a single burner furnace or boiler.

32.24.20.38

S 24.034-O (gas only)


S 24.030-C (dual fuel)

System for an automatically started, forced draught,


multi-burner furnace or boiler

32.24.20.37

S 24.021-B (gas & oil)

System for a manually started multi-burner furnace

32.24.20.33

S 24.033- (gas only)

System for an automatically started, multi-burner


natural draught furnace.

32.24.20.40

S 24.036-B

System for a tangentially fired CO boiler.

32.24.20.42

System for co-fired Gas Turbine Waste Heat


Recovery Units

(1)

S 24.035-O

System for an FCCU air preheater

(2)

System for SRU Units

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Other parameters are equally important in achieving


safe start up conditions:

Prior to starting the ignition burner, it shall be ensured that the fire box does
not contain a flammable mixture - either by performing a gas test or by
adequately purging the furnace .
The ignition burner shall give a stable flame, that will not be blown off/out by
the air/fuel/steam flow through the main burner. Once installed, it shall be
positioned such that ignition of the main flame is instantaneous. In case of
manually started furnaces/boilers, the size and position of the ignition flame
shall be such that it is clearly visible for the operator starting the main burner.
In case of manually started systems, the operator shall have unobstructed
access to the main burner cocks, whilst simultaneously observing the ignition
flame.
In the case of start-up on fuel oil, the volume of the line from burner cock to
atomiser has to be taken into account; the attempt for ignition starts at the
moment fuel oil enters the radiant cell. If the line between burner cock and
atomiser is to be blown empty, the ignition burner shall be working or
simultaneous gas firing shall be present.
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Other parameters are equally important in


achieving safe start up conditions (Cont):

For gas start-up, no start up trial should last longer than 5 seconds,
whatever the different furnace volume. If, after 5 seconds a main flame
does not start, the cause of the start failure should be established before a
next start attempt is taken. For oil start-up the maximum trial time can be
relaxed to 10 seconds.
Repeated start-up trials are accepted in case of forced- draught firing
provided the air blower remains in operation and a waiting time of one
minute is adhered to in-between start trials. For cold natural draught
furnaces intermediate gas testing of the radiant cell is essential; the second

attempt shall not less than 5 minute and longer if the furnace is cold natural
draft system.

For hot natural draught furnaces a waiting time of one minute can be
accepted.
A common convection bank/waste heat boiler can trigger an incident,
irrespective of the flammable mixture accumulation (which only relates to
conditions in the radiant cell). This strengthens the arguments for restricting
any start-up trial to a maximum of 5 seconds as well as for the intermediate
purging and/or gas testing.

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