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ISSN 0040-6015, Thermal Engineering, 2008, Vol. 55, No. 1, pp. 7277. Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2008.

. Original Russian Text A.A. Shatil, N.S. Klepikov, A.A. Smyshlyaev, A.V. Kudryavtsev, 2008, published in Teploenergetika.

Controlling the Furnace Process in Coal-Fired Boilers

A. A. Shatila, N. S. Klepikova, A. A. Smyshlyaevb, and A. V. Kudryavtsevb

Central Boiler-Turbine Institute Research and Production Association (NPO TsKTI), ul. Atamanskaya 3/6, St. Petersburg, 194167 Russia b OAO IK ZiOMAR, ul. Zheleznodorozhnaya 2, Podolsk, Moscow oblast, 142103 Russia

AbstractWe give an outline of methods using which the furnace process in coal-red boilers can be controlled to expand the range of loads, reduce the extent to which the furnace is contaminated with slag and the amount of harmful substances is emitted, and when a change is made to another kind of fuel. DOI: 10.1134/S0040601508010151

The unstable trends that exist in the market of fuel supplied to thermal power plants and the situations in which the parameters of their operation need to be changed (or preserved), as well as the tendency toward the economical and environmental requirements placed on them becoming more stringent, are factors that make the problem of controlling the combustion and heattransfer processes in furnace devices very urgent. The solution to this problem has two aspects. The rst involves development of a combustion technology and, accordingly, the design of a furnace device when new installations are designed. The second involves modernization of already existing equipment. In both cases, the technical solutions being adopted must be properly substantiated with the use of both experimental and calculation studies. The experience Central Boiler-Turbine Institute Research and Production Association (TsKTI) and ZiO specialists gained from operation of boilers and experimental investigations they carried out on models allowed them to propose several new designs of multifuel and maneuverablein other words, controllable furnace devices that had been put in operation at power stations for several years. Along with this, an approximate zero-one-dimensional, zonewise calculation model of the furnace process in boilers had been developed at the TsKTI, which allowed TsKTI specialists to carry out engineering calculations of the main parameters of this process and calculate studies of furnaces employing different technologies of ring and combustion modes [1, 2]. Naturally, furnace process adjustment methods like changing the air excess factor, stack gas recirculation fraction, and distribution of fuel and air among the tiers of burners, as well as other operations written in the boiler operational chart, are used during boiler operation. However, the effect they have on the process is limited in nature. On the other hand, control of the furnace process in a boiler implies the possibility of making substantial changes in the conditions under which

the combustion and heat transfer proceed in order to considerably expand the range of loads, minimize heat losses, reduce the extent to which the furnace is contaminated with slag, decrease the emissions of harmful substances, and shift to another fuel. Such a control can be obtained by making use of the following three main factors: (i) the ows of oxidizer and gases being set to move in the ame in a desired aerodynamic manner; (ii) the method used to supply fuel into the furnace and the place at which it is admitted thereto; and (ii) the neness to which the fuel is milled. The latter case implies that a ame-bed method is used along with the ame method for combusting fuel. The bed combustion method can be implemented in three design versions: mechanical grates with a dense bed, uidized-bed furnaces, and spouted-bed furnaces. As will be shown below, the rst factor can be made to work by setting up bulky vortices transferring large volumes of air and combustion products across and along the furnace device. If fuel is red in a ame, the optimal method of feeding it to the furnace is to admit it to the zones near the centers of circulating vortices, a situation especially typical of highly intense furnace devices [3]. The combustion process in these zones features a low air excess factor ( < 1) and a long local time for which the components dwell in them, factors that help make the combustion process more stable and reduce the emission of nitrogen oxides [13]. Also important for the control of a furnace process when solid fuel is red is the neness to which it is milled; if we wish to minimize incomplete combustion, the degree to which fuel is milled should be harmonized with the location at which the fuel is admitted into the furnace and the method for supplying it there, for the occurrence of unburned carbon may be due not only to incomplete combustion of large-size fuel fractions, but




3.3d2 w0

Bf = 6.6d1

Bf = 6.6d2



(a) 2

(b) 2


Fig. 1. Schematic designs of boiler furnaces equipped with once through burners. (a) Two burners, (b) four burners (the horizontal cross section), and (c) vertical cross section; (1) constant-velocity region (w = w0) and (2) mixing region.

also due to ne ones failing to ignite (especially when the content of volatiles Vdaf < 20%). Owing to the possibility of pictorially demonstrating the motion of ows, furnace aerodynamics is attracting a great deal of attention of researchers and designers who develop and improve furnace devices. At the same time, furnace aerodynamics lies at the heart of mixing (mass transfer), a process the quantitative parameters of which can be estimated only indirectly or by special measurements. The quality with which components are mixed in the furnace chamber proper depends on the number, layout, and momenta of the jets owing out from individual burners or nozzles, as well as on their interaction with the ow of ue gases, with one another, or with the wall. In [4], it was suggested that the gas-jet throw distance be used as a parameter determining the degree to which fuel is mixed with air in the gas burner channel. Such an approach to estimating how efcient the mixing is may to a certain degree be used in analyzing the furnace as a mixing apparatus. Obviously, the greater the jet length (and its momentum), the longer the time during which the velocity gradient it creates in the furnace will persist there, a parameter that determines how completely the ows are mixed in it. Note that the higher the degree to which a jet is turbulized at the outlet from a nozzle or burner, the shorter the distance which it covers, and, accordingly, the less completely the components are mixed in the furnace volume. Once through burners have advantages over swirl ones in this respect. It [4], is was proposed that the extent to which once through jets are mixed as they penetrate with velocity w2 and density 2 into a transverse (drift) ow moving with velocity w1 and having density 1 be correlated

with the relative jet throw distance h in the following way: w2 2 h - h = ------ = k s ----- ---- , w1 1 d eq (1)

where ks is a proportionality factor that depends on the pitch between the jet axes (ks = 1.51.8). The results of an experimental investigation in which the mixing of gas with air in a burner and then in a furnace was studied using the incompleteness of mixing as a parameter are reported in [5]. A round once through jet is intensively mixed with the surrounding medium in a furnace within its initial section, where the ow velocity at the jet axis is still equal to the velocity w2 at the nozzle orice of radius r0. The velocity of the jet blown into the furnace drops very rapidly beyond the connes of the initial section, and the axis it has in the case of wall-mounted burners bends toward the outlet from the furnace. One may consider that there are three theoretical models for analyzing the mixing of jets with owrate G2 that enter into a stream with owrate G1. The rst model is for the case when jets ow into a free space (G1 = 0), the second model is for the case when jets ow into a transverse (drift) current with owrate G1 G2, and the third model is for the case when jets ow into a drift stream with owrate G1 < G2. The second model represents mixing in the channel of a gas burner, and the third model represents mixing in a furnace chamber (Fig. 1c). We assume that the mixing pattern we have in a furnace is closer to the rst model than it is to the second one, since 0 < G1/G2 < 1, and we will assume that the throw distance h of the jet being drifted is equal to the length S0 of the free jets initial section. The ejection ability of the jet being drifted then remains the


SHATIL et al.

same as that of the free jet, and the length of the initial section can be determined using the well-known empirical formula of G.N. Abramovich [6] (2) S0 = 0.67r0/a, where a is the jet structure factor and r0 is the nozzle radius. At a = 0.07, the length of the round jets initial section is equal to 10r0 and the radius the jet has at the transition section (at the end of the initial section) is equal to 3.3r0. The mass owrate in the jet is doubled in this case. The corresponding minimum furnace cross-sectional area Ff for a round once through burner with the outlet cross-sectional area Fb will then be equal to 66r 0 , and the ratio Ff/Fb 20. This value is close to the actual values found in furnaces equipped with once through burners. In furnaces equipped with swirl burners, a = 0.14 and Ff/Fb 10. In both cases, the interval between the burners is equal to the jet diameter in the transition section dtr, which differs little from the value that has been established in practice and recommended in [7]. The method traditionally used to control the furnace process in large boilers consists of equipping them with a large number of burners arranged in several tiers. Obviously, if the distance between the tiers is relatively small, operations on disconnecting or connecting them affect the entire process only slightly. A furnace design employing large at-ame burners equipped with means for controlling the ame core position using the aerodynamic principle is a step forward. Additional possibilities for controlling the process in TPE-214 and TPE-215 boilers with a steam output of 670 t/h were obtained through the use of at-ame burners arranged in two tiers with a large distance between the tiers; this made it possible not only to raise or lower the ame, but also to concentrate or disperse the release of heat in it [1]. A very tangible effect was obtained from installing multifuel (operating on coal and open-hearth, coke, and natural gases) at-ame burners in the boilers of cogeneration stations at metallurgical plants in Ukraine and Russia. Unfortunately, we have to state that, even at present, those in charge of selecting the type, quantity, and layout of burners in a furnace sometimes adopt technical solutions that are far from being optimal. This problem should therefore be considered in more detail. If we increase the number of burners nb in a furnace while retaining their total cross-sectional area (Fb = idem) and the total owrate of air through them, their equivalent diameters deq will become smaller, as will the jet momentums Gbwb, resulting in a corresponding decrease in the jet throw distance hb and the mass they eject. The space with high velocity gradients also becomes smaller, resulting in poorer mixing in the furnace as a whole. This factor becomes especially important

when the emissions of NOx and CO are suppressed right inside the furnace using staged combustion (at b < 1) under the conditions of a fortiori nonuniform distribution of fuel among the burners. In [1], a quantitative relationship was established between the parameters characterizing the quality with which once through jets mix with one another as they ow into a limited space with the geometrical parameter F b of concentration f = --------- with nb = idem and Gb = idem. Ff By decreasing this parameter we improve the mass transfer in the furnace; however, this entails an increase in the ow velocity and the expenditure of energy (pressure drop) in the burners with the same Fb. At the same time, we know from experience and calculations that good mixing in a furnace can be obtained without increasing the head loss if we resort to large long-range jets. This allows a much less stringent requirement to be placed on the degree of uniformity with which fuel must be distributed among the burners. Moreover, fuel may in this case be fed to the furnace location where it is required from process control considerations. For illustration purposes, we will estimate the effect the number of burners has on the mixing in a furnace at F b f = --------- = idem. Figure 1 schematically shows the Ff plan views of two furnace chambers differing in the number of once through round nozzles (two and four) placed in a tier (on one side of the furnace). The furnaces have the same total outlet cross-sectional areas of the nozzles (Fb) and the same jet velocities related to these areas (wb). The well-known swirl furnace of the TsKTI has a design close to the furnace arrangement under consideration. According to the data of [1], the air fraction air that characterizes the mixing and enters through once through burners into the furnace volume beneath them can be estimated using the formula air = 1 5 f , (3)

which has been veried in the range f = 0.030.06 for a furnace chamber equipped with two frontal once through burners. Obviously, if we increase the number of burners by a factor of 2, their equivalent diameter, the length of the initial section of jets S0 and the area they serve will reduce by a factor of 2. Then, for example, at f = 0.05, the fraction air will decrease from 0.75 to 0.65. Thus, Eq. (3) may be written in the following form for approximately assessing the effect of once through burners on the quality of mixing in a furnace: air = 1 3.5 f n 'b ,




where n 'b is the number of burners (or air nozzles) on one wall when they are arranged in one tier both in onesided and opposite manners. The number of burners may be tentatively related to the furnace depth af (at the same f = idem) using the expression a f 0.14 2 ' n b = -------------- . d eq (5)

It should be noted that the axes of two large opposite air nozzles ( n 'b = 1)an arrangement implemented in an inverted furnacehad to be inclined downward by more than 50 [8]. One well-known example of a furnace device in which once through jets are used to create a large vortex covering a considerable part of its volume is a furnace with tangentially arranged burners. Such furnaces have received especially wide use in combination with pulverizing fans. However, burners with channels having a small equivalent diameter are frequently used for ring low-caloric brown coals with high content of moisture. As a result, the jets of air-dust mixture and secondary air that go out from their channels at different velocities (w2/w1 = 23) become turbulized and lose the ability to be thrown a long distance; as a consequence, the ame comes closer to the waterwalls and the latter are contaminated with slag. One method by which the tangential combustion scheme can be improved consists of organizing the so-called concentric admission of large jets of air-dust mixture and secondary air with the fuel and air nozzles spaced apart from one another over the furnace perimeter, accompanied by intensifying the ventilation of mills [9, 10]. Despite the fact that the temperature level in the ame decreases, the combustion does not become less stable because the fuel mixes with air in a stepwise manner in a horizontal plane. Vortex furnace designs with large vortices the rotation axes of which are arranged transversely with respect to the main direction of gas ow have wide possibilities in terms of controlling the furnace process. In [1], four furnace schemes with a controllable ame are described, which employ the principle of large jets colliding with one another; three of these schemes have been implemented. A boiler with a steam capacity of 230 t/h has been retrotted in accordance with one of these schemes (with an inverted furnace) [8]. Tests of this boiler, during which air-dust mixture was fed at a velocity of 2530 m/s from the boiler front using a highconcentration dust system, showed that the temperature of gases at the outlet from the furnace had a fairly uniform distribution both along the furnace width and depth [1, 8]. A simple method of shifting the ame core over the furnace height was checked during the operation of this boiler, which consisted of changing the ratio of air owrates through the front and rear nozzles; this

allowed a shift to be made from running the furnace in a dry-bottom mode to a slag-tap mode and vice versa. A bottom-blast furnace scheme has received rather wide use in boilers equipped with different types of burners and mills. Boilers with steam capacities ranging from 50 to 1650 t/h with such an aerodynamic scheme of furnaces manufactured by ZiO and Sibenergomash have been installed at a few power stations in Russia and abroad [11, 12]. We have to point out that, so far as the efciency of furnace process control is concerned, a combination of the following two aerodynamic schemes is of special interest: the inverted scheme and the bottom-blast one. The ow pattern and a calculation analysis of the furnace process in such a furnace during the combustion of lean coal are presented in [13]. Below, two other techniques for controlling the furnace process are considered. Boilers with amestoker furnaces have gained acceptance in industrial power engineering, devices that can be regarded to certain degree as controllable ones owing to the presence of two zones in them [1]. Very different kinds of fuel can be jointly combusted in these furnaces rather easily. An example of calculating such a furnace device is given in [2]. As for boilers of larger capacity, work on developing controllable two-zone furnaces is progressing slowly [14]. The development of a furnace device using the so-called VIR technology (the transliterated abbreviation of the Russian introduction, innovation, and retrotting) [15] can be considered as holding promise in this respect. Those involved in bringing this technology to the state of industry standard encountered difculties of an operational nature (the control of the process also presented certain difculties). In our opinion, these difculties are due to the fact that the distribution of fuel over fractions can be optimized to a limited extent and that the ow in the main furnace volume has a rather sluggish aerodynamic structure. It should also be noted that the device for ring the coarsest fractions of solid fuel in a spouting bed under the cold funnel is far from being technically perfect. Centrifugal dust concentrators have received acceptance for ring high-reactive coals in schemes employing pulverizing fans to optimize the distribution of fuel as to its owrate and fractions. The design of one such device is schematically shown in Fig. 2 [9]. Figure 3 shows a distribution of fuel owrates among four tiers of burners that is close to the optimum one. This distribution can be controlled if we furnish dust concentrators with a device with variable blades, a solution that has an adequate effect on the furnace process. Calculations carried out using the TOPKA computer program [1, 2] for a P-59 boiler employing the VIR technology of fuel combustion [15] gave ame temperatures fairly close to those published in the literature (at the thermal efciency factor of the furnace waterwall surfaces = 0.4 and the furnace emissivity


SHATIL et al. I, % 30

20 3 10

g, % To the burners 30 1 2

4 3 1

20 10 0 10 4 20 30

40 , deg

1 2

Fig. 3. Distribution of the drying agent (I) and dust (g) among the branch pipes. (1)(4) are the numbers of branch pipes.

Dust--air mixture
Fig. 2. Centrifugal dust concentrator. (1) Cylindrical shells, (2) swirler, (3) dust removal channels, and (4) cover.

(ii) using a small number of large burners and nozzles (it is desirable that their shape be close to a round one) the jets from which are thrown to a large distance and collide with one another or with the wall; (iii) increasing the relative height of the active combustion zone in combination with using a small number of tiers spaced apart along the zone height; and (iv) arranging a controlled distribution of the owrate of fuel and its fractions along the height of the active combustion zone. REFERENCES
1. A. A. Shatil, Furnace Processes and Devices (AOOT NPO TsKTI, St. Petersburg, 1997) [in Russian]. 2. A. A. Shatil, A Calculated Study of Furnace Devices (AOOT NPO TsKTI, St. Petersburg, 2003) [in Russian]. 3. A. A. Shatil, Firing Natural Gas in the Combustion Chambers of Gas-Turbine Units (Nedra, Leningrad, 1972) [in Russian]. 4. Yu. V. Ivanov, Principles of Calculating and Designing Gas Burners (Gosenergoizdat, Moscow, 1963) [in Russian]. 5. V. N. Afrosimova, The Formation of Mixture in a Gas Burner and the Combustion of Gas Fuel, in Theory and Practice of Gas Combustion (Nedra, Leningrad, 1967), No. 3, pp. 272283 [in Russian]. 6. G. N. Abramovich, Turbulent Free Jets of Liquids and Gases (Gosenergoizdat, MoscowLeningrad, 1948) [in Russian]. 7. Methodical Guidelines for Designing Furnace Devices, Ed. by E. Kh. Verbovetskii and N. G. Zhmerik (AOOT NPO TsKTI, St. Petersburg, 1996) [in Russian]. 8. A. A. Shatil, V. P. Maistruk, A. E. Surovov, et al., Studying the Inverted Method for Combusting Black Coals of

factor af = 0.91.0), the values of which are not higher than 1300C in the active combustion zone and around 1050C at the furnace outlet. The calculated fraction of unburned carbon is not more than 0.6%. The coefcients used in the input data for the calculation corresponded to intensive mixing in the space of a high furnace equipped with once through nozzles and burners. The furnace was designed so that part of the fuel was red in the device placed under the cold funnel at = 0.70.8. This allowed the calculated values of nitrogen oxide concentration to be obtained at a level of around 300 mg/m3. Thus, the described principles of combusting solid fuels with dry-ash removal lead us to the idea of developing a controllable three-zone furnace combining the zones of vortex ows in the main space of the furnace chamber, in the cold funnel, and beneath it, an arrangement that makes it possible to adjust the combustion and heat transfer in one direction or another. It is desirable that the following techniques be used in the technology of fuel combustion: (i) organizing large vortex ows (circulations) covering the maximum possible portion of the furnace volume;

CONTROLLING THE FURNACE PROCESS IN COAL-FIRED BOILERS Grades D and G and Their Intermediate Products in a TP-230-3 Boiler, Elektr. Stn., No. 1, 1719 (1986). 9. F. A. Serant, V. V. Gordeev, Yu. A. Ershov, et al., Problems Pertinent to the Combustion of Brown Coals and Lignites with the Use of Pulverizing Fans and Ways of Solving Them, Teploenergetika, No. 9, 2328 (1999), [Therm. Eng., No. 9, 1999]. 10. V. I. Shchelokov, A. A. Smyshlyaev, A. V. Kudryavtsev, and M. Yu. Tochilin, The Experience of IK ZiOMAR ZiO-Podolsk in Developing Methods for Low-Toxic Combustion of Fuel in Boiler Installations and Putting Them in Use in Russia and Abroad, in Proceeding of the Third International ScienticPractical Conference and Specialized Exhibition Environmental Matters in Power Engineering2006, OAO VTI, Moscow, 2006, pp. 214 221. 11. N. S. Klepikov, L. N. Gusev, A. A. Shatil, et al., Experience with Using an Undergrate-Blast System Designed at NPO TsKTI in Low-, Medium-, and Large-Capacity 12.


13. 14.


Boilers, Trudy TsKTI, No. 287 (Construction of Boilers), 7074. V. I. Shchelokov, A. A. Smyshlyaev, F. A. Serant, et al., Some Questions Pertinent to Designing and Upgrading the Furnace and Burner Devices of Boiler Units Firing Brown Coals and Lignites, in Proceedings of the AllRussian Scientic and Technical Seminar New Technologies for Combusting Solid Fuel: Their Current State and Prospects for the Future Use, OAO VTI, Moscow, 2001, pp. 5863. A. A. Shatil, A Calculated Study of Boiler Furnaces, Elektr. Stn., No. 4, 510 (2001). A. A. Shatil, S. P. Sharapa, V. E. Razumov, and V. Ya. Itskovich, The Use of Two-Zone Furnaces for Upgrading Coal-Fired Boilers, Elektr. Stn., No. 7, 1418 (1994). F. Z. Finker, I. B. Kubyshkin, A. G. Mitryukhin, and V. M. Katsman, The Prospects of Using the VIR Technology for Coal Combustion, Elektr. Stn., No. 8, 3842 (2006).


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