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Problem Solving on High Unburned Carbon Losses

at Ombilin Steam Powerplant 2x100 MW

Used Dirty Air Test & Isokinetic Coal Sampling

Eko Supriyanto1), Odi Sefriadi2), Nurcahyo3)

PT PLN (Persero) Puslitbang Ketenagalistrikan, Jl Durentiga No.102 Jakarta Selatan 12760


Abstract. Based on the results of heat rate test conducted by PLN Puslitbang at Unit # 1 Ombilin Steam
Powerplant 2x100 MW, it has been known that abnormal unburned carbon losses occurred between 7-9 %
from normally condition 2 % based on ASME PTC PM Standard. That losses had significant effect on
decreasing boilers efficiency from 89 % to 73-71 %. Because of the limitation scope on heat rate test, we did
not find the specific way to solve this problem, therefore we conducted additional testing such a dirty air test
to know how the balance coal and air flow at coal pipe outlet pulverizer, and also isokinetic coal sampling to
get the valid sample of coal fineness to be sieved. The result on dirty air test showed that coal and air flow for
each coal pipes had deviation on dirty air velocity rich until -17 % and +23 % compare to their average dirty
air velocity, in the meanwhile EPRI recommended that to have an optimum combustion, maximum toleration
in dirty air velocity only 5 %. Coal fineness from isokinetic coal sampling showed 40-50 % passing through
200 mesh, where the recommendation value from EPRI 70%. It indicated that coal was injected to the boiler
not fine enough to get optimum combustion, and it was the dominant effect on high unburned carbon. From
the test result then we got specific way how to solve the problem on high unburned carbon losses at Ombilin
Steam Powerplant.

Keywords: Unburned Carbon Losses, Dirty Air Test, Isokinetic Coal Sampling, Coal Fineness
Ombilins steam powerplants are pulverized coal-fired powerplant that have installed capacity 2x100 Megawatt. This
powerplant is located at Sawah Lunto District in West Sumatra Province which is near to PT Bukit Asam former coal
mine area. Because of its location adjacent to the mine area so that the power plant is categorized as mine mouth
powerplant. Government as the shareholder regulatory in the sale and purchase of electricity, in this case represented
by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources will apply a regulation called performance base regulatory or called
PBR. This regulation aims to control the amount of electricity subsidies based on heat rate on the electric energy
generation. Nowadays, through the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources No. 3 of 2015 Regulation, the
maximum allowable heat rate required by power producer in producing electrical energy in kcal / kWh unit. Ombilin
Steam Powerplant which is categorized as mine mouth powerplant with capacity of 100 MW, based on that regulation
the maximum allowable heat rate value is 3200 kcal / kWh, while the result of heat rate test conducted by PLN
Puslitbang obtained heat rate value in the range between 3700-4000 kcal/kWh. Based on that conditions, to diagnose
the cause of high on unburned carbon losses, in this study conducted with dirty air test to obtain difference of dirty air
velocity between coal pipe to coal pipe and also conducted isokinetic coal sampling to get the right pulverized coal
sample to be sieved.

Test Method
Stormeng coal balancing kit was used to conduct dirty air test at coal pipe outlet pulverizer which parameter to be
obtained are: static pressure, dynamic pressure and temperature output, besides this tool was used for isokitetic coal
sampling also. The fineness sample from isokinetic coal sampling was classified using US Standard Sieves with sizes
50, 100 and 200 mesh. MRU Vario was used as flue gas analyzer at inlet and outlet air heater to obtain flue gas
composition and temperature. THB-418SD was used to obtain ambient parameter such a humidity, temperature and
pressure. The test was conducted at unit #1 with load setting 90 and 95 MW, whereas test procedure refers to the
American Society of Mechanical Engineer Performance Test Code (ASME PTC) Standard 4, while for dirty air test
and isokinetic coal sampling refers to ASME PTC 16.

Figure 1. Stormeng Isokinetic Coal Sampling Kit

Step by Step Test

First of all we obtained traverse point in coal pipe to be observed, according to the ASME PTC 16 traverse
point for Ombilin steam powerplant as below:

Figure 2. Traverse Point Standard Coal Pipe below 12

Determine air density inside coal pipe :

460+70 "+
() = 13.6
0.075 (1)
460+ 29.92" 3

Determine velocity dirty air and velocity deviation :

() = 1096 (2)

() = 100%...... (3)

Determine isokinetic pressure :

() = 1.573 () ( )2 .. (4)

Determine fineness fraction :

% 50 = 100%................................................ (5)
% 100 = 100%......................................... (6)
% 200 = 100%................................... (7)
% = 100%..................................................... (8)

= Air density (lbs/ft3)
BpHg = Barometric pressure (inch hg)
Sp wc = Static pressure (inch water)
TACP = Air inside coal pipe temperature (F)
v = Dirty air velocity (fpm)
v = Dirty air velocity deviation (%)
P = Isokinetic pressure (inch water)
R1 = Coal remain on 50 mesh sieve (grams)
R2 = Coal remain on 100 mesh sieve (grams)
R3 = Coal remain on 200 mesh sieve (grams)
R4 = Coal remain on pan (grams)

Result and Discussion

The test result showed that unburned carbon losses reaches 15 % on 90 MW load setting and 14 % on 95 MW load,
that affected on decreasing boiler efficiency become 73- 71%, and also on heat rate unit become 3718 - 4089 kcal/
kWh as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. Heat Rate Test Result at Ombilins steam powerplant unit #1

The value unburned carbons are strongly influenced by various parameters of boiler operation, among others, the level
of coal fineness and the adequacy of excess air, under normal conditions i.e. fineness 65-72% passing through 200
mesh and 20% excess air. Table 4 shows the value of coal fineness from samples obtained using isokinetic coal
sampling method. The amount of coal fineness passing through 200 mesh in the range of 41-61%, it shows that the
coal entering the boiler is used as fuel is not fine enough, thus contributing to the cause of unburned carbon.

Figure 4. Coal Fineness Result from Isokinetic Coal Sampling

Under normal condition of coal fineness and normal excess air, unburned carbon can occur due to the imbalance of
dirty air flow at outlet pulverizer, where the normal condition of this dirty air is in the range of 5% to the average
value of dirty air flow velocity in every pulverizer.
Figure 5. Dirty Air Velocity Balance

Result from dirty air test performed at 90 and 95 MW loads indicate that the dirty air balance occurred in the range of
23% and 79%, this is above the normal limit, so this condition contributes to the high unburned carbon losses.

From the discussion revealed that the high value of unburned carbon that occurred in Ombilin steam powerplant unit
#1 was due to the coal fineness is still not quite fine enough used as fuel in the boiler, in addition to the imbalance
dirty air velocity that far exceeds the normal limit also contributes to the high value of unburned carbon.


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