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2010, 12th International Conference on Optimization of Electrical and Electronic Equipment, OPTIM 2010

An Analysis on the Optimal Fields Number of the

Plate-Type Electrostatic Precipitators used in a
Thermoelectric Power Plant
Gabriel N. Popa Victor Vaida Sorin I. Deaconu Ioan Şora
Member, IEEE Faculty of Power Engineering Member, IEEE Faculty of Electrical and
Faculty of Engineering Oradea University Faculty of Engineering Power Engineering
Huned., Politehnica University Romania Huned., Politehnica University Politehnica University
Timişoara, Romania Timişoara, Romania Timişoara, Romania

conditions of the field events and the physical-chemical

Abstract- The most used deduster in industrial applications are properties of the gas with dust [2],[12],[13].
plate-type electrostatic precipitators. They can treat high gas Upgrading of an ESP, by connecting of a new field, should
flows obtained from various burning processes, but their price is be achieved in conditions of a serious analysis, the investment
high. These costs depend mostly on the number of fields. An
analysis was performed using experimental data collected from costs being extremely high [10].
different plate-type electrostatic precipitators in a
thermoelectric power plant. The following items were analysed: II. ENERGIZATION OF ESP FIELDS
the collection efficiency, the speed distribution of the dust
particles in the fields, and some electrical parameters for three The schematic diagram for the power supply of a ESP field is
types of electrostatic precipitators: with two, three and four presented in fig.1, where 1 is the control cabinet, 2 is a high
voltage tank with a high voltage transformer and a high
voltage rectifier. The components are imersed in oil to be
cooled [9]. This is a possibility to supply the ESP fields.
To separate dust particles from process there are some
methods with different principles: gravity separation, inertial
separation with cyclones, electrostatic charge particles
applied in electrostatic precipitators (tube-type and plate-
type), contacting and impaction in the case of wet scrubbers.
Some methods can be very efficient in collecting the large
dust particles, greater than 10µm, but the legislative emission
levels for dust particles with 1 µm or less is now essential for
a large number of processes. For large processes gas streams
plate-type electrostatic precipitators (50 m3/s upwards) are Fig.1. High voltage power supply for a field
used. This is the case for thermal power station. The plate-
type electrostatic precipitators (ESP) can collect dust particles
between 0.01µm÷1mm, the dust resistivity between 106 ÷ A. Classical DC energization
1014 Ω⋅cm. Large ESP have from 2 to several sections (4÷6), In order to control the Corona power, the line voltage (two
each of them, having their own power supply [1],[2],[3]. phase, 380 V a.c.) is regulated by a thyristor controller
In principle, an ESP has a mechanical part and an electrical (through phase control) before it is applied to the primary of
part, both determining the ESP’s performance as a whole. the high voltage transformer (fig.2). The high voltage
From an electric viewpoint various types of power supply transformer (T2) has some turns ratio n to desired high
voltage, to obtain Corona effect. The voltage is rectified by a
sources can be used [4], [5], [6] which can control the high
high voltage silicon bridge rectifier (P). This voltage (usually
voltage in the field by various algorithms [7], [8], [9].
up to 60kV) is applied directly to a precipitator section
Mechanically, for instance, by using of another type of
without additional filtering.
discharge wires [3], [10], [11] into an ESP field, can be The high voltage is connected such, that the discharge wires
obtained higher collection efficiencies. have negative polarity and the plate electrodes are connected
Measuring of the electric parameters from the fields to the ground. The firing angle of the thyristors (V1, V2) is
(voltage, current) and the voltages control in the field consist determined by a control unit with microcontroller (2) for
the practical measure to obtain high performances, in the every half-cycle of the voltage line.

978-1-4244-7020-4/10/$26.00 '2010 IEEE 232

Fig.4. High voltage on an ESP field (20 ms/div., 10 kV/div.) in classical

The current for the power supply is presented in fig. 3 and

Fig.2. Electrical power supply for a field
the high voltage from a field [15] in fig. 4.
The power factor is usually better than 0.8, when kf is
The control unit is connected to the firing angle board (4)
approximately 1.4.
through an interface (1). The machine interface is controlled
The classical energization has been used in the last four
via a keyboard and display unit (3). The current through the
decades for normal dust resistivity between (106 ÷109) Ω⋅cm
field is measurated with R3 (5) and the high voltage with the
voltage divider R1-R2 (6). These values are important for the
control unit. A low voltage (24 V) is supplied to the control
B. Intermittent energization
unit through F1 and the transformer T1 [8],[9],[14].
In order to obtain this energization the same electrical
The following quantities are normally indicated:
equipment as in traditional energization is used (fig.2). The
- precipitator average current (I0avg);
difference is the automatic voltage equipment that suppresses
- precipitator peak voltage without load (Upeak);
a number of half-cycles of the primary current delivered to
- primary r.m.s. current (I0RMS);
the high voltage transformer. Suppresion is obtained by not
- line voltage (Ul);
firing the thyristors in the respective half cycles. This
- frequency (f);
suppresion of current pulses is called degree of intermitance
- apparent input power (S).
D. In fig.5 the precipitation voltage in intermittent
The form factor kf of the precipitator current is an important
energization with D=3 is presented [15].
I 0 RMS ,
The mean current in intermittent energization IIE is:
kf = (1) I DC
I 0 avg I IE = K , (4)
1 2 , (2) K (-) is a factor between 1÷1.5, and IDC is the current in
I0 RMS =
T ∫
i0 ( t )dt
classical energization.
Here are some differences between intermittent and
1 traditional energization:
I0 avg =
T ∫ i ( t ) dt .
- the peak voltage value of the precipitator is higher;
- the minimum voltage value of the precipitator is lower;
- through the suppresion of current pulses, the mean and rms
values of the precipitator current are reduced;
- the mean voltage value and the Corona power delivered to
the precipitator are lower;

Fig.5. High voltage on an ESP field (12 ms/div., 10 kV/div.) in intermittent

Fig.3. Current from supply for an ESP field (4 ms/div., 50 A/div.) in classical energization

If Ip is the peak current value and ω0 is angular frequency of
- the power consumption of the precipitator is reduced. the oscillation, the pulse current can be computed with:
The intermittent energization has been used in the last 35 i p ( t ) = I p ⋅ sin (ω0 ⋅ t ) . (5)
years for medium dust resistivity between (109 ÷1011) Ω⋅cm
The pulse precipitator voltage is:
C. Pulse energization
up( t ) =
CF ∫
i p ( t ) dt . (6)

The pulse energization has been used during the last 25 years
Pulse energization consists of short duration high voltage for high dust resistivity between (1011 ÷ 1013) Ω⋅cm [5],[10].
pulses superimposed on a d.c. voltage. The pulse length is
between 1µs-100µs and the pulse frequency is between 1Hz- D. High frequency power supplies
400Hz at a voltage of approximately 80…100 kV.
In principle there are two main circuits which can be used In the last three decades, the development of fast electronic
to supply the precipitator sections; first is based on switching switching devices (fast-thyristors, IGBT and so on) caused
at low potential (fig.6) and the second is based on switching the development of power supplies of ESPs. The main circuit
at high potential (fig.7). of an a.c.-d.c. converter for an ESP field is presented in fig.9.
The pulse energization are different compared with d.c. The main components circuit of the circuit are: the primary
energization: three-phase rectifier bridge P1 without control; the c.c.
- the high voltage pulses have a high amplitude; intermediary filter used to slow down the voltage ripples that
- the continous voltage is kept close to obtain the Corona is an electrolytic capacitor with small dissipation; the primary
power. inverter, with different configuration and components, with
In fig.8 is presented the voltage and currents waveform switching frequency in the range from kHz up to 50 kHz. The
obtained with pulse enegization for a field [5]. step-up single phase transformer at high voltage and
frequency (380V/65kV) for the precipitator section is made
from ferrite toroidal core to minimize dissipation; the
secondary high voltage and frequency rectifier bridge P2 that
is used to obtain the continuous voltage in the precipitator
section; the low-pass filter to reduce the current harmonics
that appear from electrical and Corona discharges; is made
from R-L components. The problems of interrupted power
supply (arc and recovering current of the precipitator) are
Fig. 6. Pulse energization - circuit based on switching at low potential
reduced by operating at a high frequency (approximately 10
kHz). The recovery time, to recharge the precipitator can be
better controlled with smaller time steps increments.

Fig. 7. Pulse energization - circuit based on switching at high potential

Fig. 9. A.c.-d.c. converter for a ESP section

Fig. 10. High voltage in a field, with classical energization and high
Fig. 8. Voltage and current waveforms in pulse energization frequency power supply, at the same current

Fig.10 [10] presents the precipitator voltage in traditional
DC energization, with high frequency power supply, for the
same ESP field. High frequency power supplies were used
experimentally in the last years for normal and medium dust
resistivity [4],[6].


The automatic control of the current through an ESP field, Fig.12. High voltage on the field in the time of spark: a: type 1;
during an operation, according to the various events is b: type 2
presented in fig. 11. In fig.11 was noted: 1 start-up; 2 type 1
spark; 3 recovery time; 4 current set; 5 rise of current; 6 type The back Corona must be avoided in ESP operation. The
2 spark; 7 pause time; 8 current upper limit; 9 fast current dust from the gas begin to put on the discharge wires
rise. (connected to the high potential), that have a surface much
Generally, the sparks in ESP fields are classified as type 1 less than collecting plates (that are connected to the ground).
and 2, and are measurement by a voltage divider. A spark will Back Corona may be detected by the control unit comparing
cause a reduction of the current through an ESP field. The the minimum voltage before and after a spark [9],[12].
recovery time is the time from the moment of detection of the In fig.13 Ubs is the average value for the last two minimum
spark to the moment of reducing of the current through the values before the spark occurs, and Uas3 and Uas4 is the third
field. and the fourth minimum values after the spark.
If there is an ESP field voltage drop more than a set value
(up to 40 kV, the value can be set) and the drop takes more 1 U as 3 + U as 4 . (7)
U as =
ms, it is considered a type 1 spark. If the voltage on an ESP 2
field falls under a voltage limit (11) a timer is started, after
the control unit detects a spark type 1. If the voltage does not
exceed the voltage limit (11) after the time (12) elapses time a
type 2 spark is detected.
The field is energized when the main contactor is closed.
A period of time, the thyristors are blocked, after which the
field voltage is increased to a set value. From practice, was
established at a current increase of 200%/min. The start
sequence is considered finalized when the limit current 8 is
reached. During the field’s operation can occur various events
that can last a longer period of time, before reaching the
current’s rated value. If discharges are not achieved within a
time tFCR (time for fast current rise), then, the current is Fig. 13. Back Corona detection in a field
increased (by a rate of approximate 200%/min) [8],[9].
If Uas>Ubs back Corona occurs and the degree of
If a spark occurs during the time recovery than the spark is
intermittence is increased by 2. The control unit has a
classified type 2. A spark rate can be set, usual, up to
sensitivity factor and a hysteresis in the detection of back
hundreds sparks/min. There is a connection between the
current reduction and the rise of the spark rate.



The operation of some plate-type ESPs from a

thermoelectric power plant (Mintia, Deva, Romania) has been
analyzed. During this time, ESPs with 2, 3 and 4 fields, were
used in conditions the control and type power supply sources
were modernized. The power plant has six energetic groups
(210 MW) connected each to a boiler. The exhaust gas with
dust from each boiler in part is introduced in two electro-
Fig.11. Current control strategy in ESP field filters noted generic by A and B.
By qin (g/m3N) denotes the dust concentration of gases at
ESP’s inlet and qout (g/m3N) the dust concentration of gases at

the ESP’s outlet, then, the ESP’s collecting efficiency η (%) The supply of the two fields was classic, with analogue
is: adjustment.
Further, the collecting efficiency of an ESP with three fields
⎛ q ⎞
η = ⎜⎜ 1 − out ⎟⎟ ⋅ 100 . (8) is analyzed.
⎝ qin ⎠ In table I [18], case 1 correspond to a minimum load of the
If εi (%) denotes the relative mass for a certain medium energetic group (135-150 MW), and cases 2, 3 correspond for
diameter of dust particles di (µm), and I is the number of a maximum load of the energetic group (180-185 MW). Case
medium diameters of dust particles resulted by analysis, then 2 correspond to an operation regime with automatically
the medium diameter of the dust particles davg (µm) collected adjusted electrical parameters, and case 3 corresponds to an
by a certain field of the ESP is: operation regime with electric parameters set to the discharge

i =1
i ⋅d i
. (9) TABLE II
100 ESP Inlet dust Outlet dust Collecting
concentration concentration efficiency (%)
For an ESP with two fields were made analysis upon ESPs (g/m3N) (g/m3N)
ESP 4A 25.53 0.138 99.46
5 [16].
ESP 4B 24.91 0.147 99.41
The collection efficiency of an ESP with two fields,
supplied by a classic power source is 94÷97 %. The medium diameter of the dust particles collected on each
The electric resistivity of dust at t=150 0C is field in part is [19]: davg1 =79.7 µm (field 1); davg2 =45.15 µm
(6⋅1011÷3.5⋅1012) Ω⋅m [17]. The distribution on granular
(field 2); davg3 =50.68 µm (field 3).
fractions was achieved in fig. 14.
The dust particles’ medium diameter collected on each
field in part is: davg1 =78.75 µm (field 1); davg2 =29.04 µm COLLECTING EFFICIENCY FOR AN ESP WITH THREE FIELDS (3)
(field 2). ESP Inlet dust Outlet dust Collecting
The collected dust particles have diameters in the order of concentration concentration efficiency (%)
µm; the inlet field (field 1) collects better the dust particles (g/m3N) (g/m3N)
ESP 5A 20.061 0.198 99.012
with diameters over 10 µm, and the outlet field collects dust ESP 5B 20.75 0.187 99.075
particles with smaller diameter.
The medium diameter of the dust particles collected on each
field in part is [20]: davg1 =73.4 µm (field 1); davg2 =45.5 µm
25 (field 2); davg3 =50.1 µm (field 3).


Field 2 ESP Inlet dust Outlet dust Collecting
concentration concentration efficiency (%)
10 3 3
(g/m N) (g/m N)
ESP 6A 26.464 0.113 99.572
ESP 6B 20.953 0.167 99.204
0.001 0.01 0.1 1 The medium diameter of the dust particles collected on
each field in part is [20]: davg1 =73.4 µm (field 1); davg2 =45.5
µm (field 2); davg3 =50.1 µm (field 3).
Fig.14. The distribution on granular fractions of the collected dust particles, The medium diameter of the dust particles collected on
for an ESP with two fields
each field in part is [21]: davg1 =74.6 µm (field 1); davg2 =38.7
TABLE I µm (field 2); davg3 =38.6 µm (field 3).
More cases in ESPs operation (table I-IV) have been
ESP Case Inlet dust Outlet dust Collecting
concentration concentration efficiency (%)
presented. The collection efficiency is higher for the cases
(g/m3N) (g/m3N) from table I (where modern power supply sources are used),
ESP 4A 1 23.14 0.081 99.65 against the other situations where old sources are used. In
2 38.28 0.134 99.65 table I shows a significant difference from the collection
3 44.24 0.146 99.67
1 21.62 0.093 99.57
efficiency’s viewpoint for a minimum and maximum
ESP 4B 2 33.26 0.163 99.51 operation load of the boiler.
3 33.86 0.149 99.56 The distribution on granular fractions, for an ESP with 3
fields, was achieved in fig. 15.

ESP Case Inlet dust Outlet dust Collecting
concentration concentration efficiency (%)
(g/m3N) (g/m3N)
40 ESP 1A 1 24.61 0.056 99.77
Field 1 2 26.915 0.083 99.69

30 Field 2 3 26.915 0.08 99.7

Field 3 4 26.915 0.061 99.77
20 1 20.84 0.053 99.74
ESP 1B 2 28.795 0.085 99.7
10 3 28.795 0.092 99.68
4 28.795 0.087 99.69
0.01 0.1 1
Table VII [23] presents the experimental data for two electro-
[mm] filters with four fields in two operation regimes: minimum
technological load regime (140 MW for the energetic group)
Fig.15. The distribution on granular fractions of the collected dust particles,
cases 1 ESP 1A and 1 ESP 1B and maximum technological
for an ESP with three fields
load regime (180 MW for the energetic group) cases 2, 3, 4
ESP 1A and 2,3,4 ESP 1B. To the cases of maximum
From fig.15 is noticed that the dust particles collection, technological load correspond the following operation
with the greatest mass, is made in the inlet field (field 1), then regimes: case 2 without current limitation in secondary and
in the intermediary field (field 2) and, the latest, in the outlet classic supply, case 3 with current limitation in secondary
field where are collected particles with diameters smaller that (60-90%) and classic supply, case 4 without current limitation
10µm. in secondary and intermittent supply (intermittence degree 3).
Further, is analyzed the collection efficiency of an ESP In all cases the collecting efficiency is high (approximately
with four fields. In tables V and VI, U2min represents the on 99.7 %). If by k2 is noted:
set Corona voltage in field, and U2max the discharge voltage in U 2 peak
the field. The current density (J2) corresponds to U2max [22]. k2 = . (10)
U 2 avg
The on set Corona voltage (U2min) is smaller and smaller
from the inlet fields (field 1) towards the outlet fields (field 4) In table VIII and IX [24] were achieved measurements upon
(tables V and VI). Approximately the same evolution has also the supply sources of ESP fields. By U1, I1 were noted the
the discharge voltage (U2max). The current density is of voltage and current absorbed from the grid, by U2avg the
hundreds of µA/m2. average value of the voltage on ESP fields, by k2 the ratio
between the maximum and medium voltage, and by J2 the
current density in secondary (the ratio between the current
TABLE V from ESP field and the surface of the collecting plates of the
Field U2min U2max J2
same field).
no. (kV) (kV) (mA/m2) TABLE VIII
1 2 28 43 0.111 Field U1 I1 U2avg k2 (-) J2
3 24 39 0.13 no. (V) (A) (kV) (mA/m2)
4 18 44 0.37 Case 1 217 230 50 1.44 0.144
Case 1 31 47 0.222 1 2 206 216 46 1.22 0.133
2 2 29 47 0.24 3 207 258 46 1.38 0.185
3 25 46 0.296 4 152 180 37 1.4 0.12
4 19 43 0.351 Case 1 248 186 51 1.55 0.111
2 2 203 219 41 1.48 0.093
3 217 263 46 1.39 0.185
TABLE VI 4 - - - - -
Field U2min U2max J2
no. (kV) (kV) (mA/m2) TABLE IX
1 2 32 48 0.148 Field U1 I1 U2avg k2 (-) J2
3 26 40 0.111 no. (V) (A) (kV) (mA/m2)
4 19 38 0.24 Case 1 213 178 50 1.26 0.119
Case 1 38 46 0.055 1 2 206 230 47 1.32 0.157
2 2 31 49 0.203 3 228 348 44 1.4 0.26
3 26 43 0.203 4 154 194 37 1.32 0.1
4 20 37 0.24 Case 1 52 144 34 1.59 0.043
2 2 86 151 40 1.6 0.06
3 57 129 31 1.67 0.047
4 64 131 29 1.72 0.048

The currents absorbed from the power supply grid (supply The experimental data was represented graphically (fig.17)
from two phase, 380V a.c.) are of hundreds of A, the medium the collection efficiencies, obtained in various situations,
voltages applied on fields being higher on the ESP’s inlet depending on the number of ESPs fields: 2, 3 or 4 fields. The
fields (tables VIII and IX). Tables VIII and IX are related lowest collection efficiency was obtained when using an ESP
with table X. with 2 fields. Even if modern power supplies are used, they
TABLE X have an inferior collection efficiency then ESPs with 3 and 4
ESP Case Inlet dust Outlet dust Collecting
concentration concentration efficiency (%)
In case when using ESPs with 3 and 4 fields, is registered a
(g/m3N) (g/m3N) slight increase in collecting of dust particles in case when
ESP 1A 1 25.303 0.092 99.63 using ESPs with 4 fields.
2 26.511 0.219 99.17
ESP 1B 1 26.241 0.074 99.71
2 26.476 0.09 99.66 100

In table X [24], cases 1, 2 ESP 1A and case 1 ESP 1B the

supply of the ESP fields was classic, and in case 2 ESP 1B 99.5
the supply was intermittent (intermittence degree 3).
For ESP 1A, in both cases in field 2 were frequent electric
discharges (due to the incorrect adjustment of the supply 99
source’s parameters), and in case 2, in order to observe the

Collection efficiency (%)

influence of the last field (no. 4), this was not functioned. The
collecting efficiency was diminished in this case (ESP 1A, 98.5
ESP 2 fields
case 2). Can be observed the importance of the last field. ESP 3 fields
At the intermittent supply of the fields was obtained the best ESP 4 fields
collection, in conditions of a smaller power. For case 1 ESP 98
1B (classic supply) the apparent power was 196.81 kVA, and
in case 2 ESP 1B (intermittent supply) the apparent power
was 36.21 kVA, being obtained a decrease of the apparent
power by 81.6%.
The medium diameter of the dust particles collected on each
field in part is [19]: davg1 =92.6 µm (field 1); davg2 =72.1 µm
(field 2); davg3 =60.8 µm (field 3); davg4 =45.7 µm (field 4).
The distribution on granular fractions for the ESP with four 96.5
fields is presented in fig.16. 2 3 4
The dust particles with smaller and smaller diameters are
Number of fields (-)
collected by the ESP’s outlet fields. The highest particle
quantity is collected by the inlet fields (fields 1 and 2)
(fig.16). The dust particles’ diameter is below 0.3 mm. The Fig.17. The collection efficiency depending on the number of ESPs’ fields
last field collects the dust particles with the smallest

Field 1
Field 2

Field 3
30 Field 4
0.01 0.1 1
Fig.18. Medium diameter of the dust particles collected on each field in part,
Fig.16. The distribution on granular fractions of the collected dust particles, depending on the ESP’s type: with two, three or four fields
for an ESP with four fields

The medium diameter of the dust particles collected on [2] R.J. Truce, W. Reibelt, “ New technology improves electrostatic
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fields, when using ESPs with 2, 3 and 4 fields is presented in 1998.
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fewest fields, have diameters slightly smaller than the ESPs study of ESP electrical characteristics from a thermal power station”,
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fewer fields against the ESPs with more fields. In tables XI types of high-voltage supplies on industrial electrostatic precipitators,”
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[6] N. Grass, “ Fuzzy logic-optimising IGBT inverter for electrostatic
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FIELDS [7] N.V.P.R. Durga Prasad, T. Lakshminarayana, J.R.K. Narosimham, T.M.
ESP 2 fields 3 fields 4 fields Verman, and C.S.R.Krishnam Raju, “Automatic control and
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Industry Applications, vol.35, no.3, May/June, 1999, pp.561-567.
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[8] ***, “ High voltage electrical equipment ZEO 92-1800”, technical
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TABLE XII [9] ***, “ ESP power supplies”, technical documentation, FLS miljo,
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ESP davg1 (µm) davg2 (µm) davg3 (µm) davg4 (µm) London, U.K., 1997, pp.192-229.
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[13] R. Morrow, “ Measurement of fast high-voltage transients on
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degree, and for the outlet fields, where exist dust particles S.A., Bucharest, Romania, 1995.
[20] ***, “Measuring for establish the collection efficiency at electrical
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