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ALKALI BOIL OUT | Ajit Kumar Hyderabad https://ajitkumartce.wordpress.


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July 5, 2014
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The purpose of alkali boil out is to remove from boiler internals the deposits like oil, grease, mill scale
etc., resulting out of manufacturing, fabrication and erection procedures. Such deposits in the boiler
tube walls severely restrict heat flow across the tube walls resulting failure due to overheating.


In order to commence alkali boil out of the boiler, following prerequisites/inputs have to be made

2.1 Mechanical completion of boiler including auxiliaries and piping.

2.2 Completion of boiler hydro test and other commissioning activities including refractory dry out.

2.3 Readiness of Electrical Equipment, controls and Instrumentation.

2.4 Adequate illumination in and around the boiler house.

2.5 Electrical power for motorized valves, gauge glass illuminator, etc.

2.6 Demineralised water through boiler feed water pumps.

2.7 Readiness of sample collection system.

2.8 Chemicals required for the process.

2.9 Full readiness of Boiler for lighting up and its thermal expansion.

2.10 Water testing facilities including pH and oil detection.

2.11 Readiness of chemical dosing system.

2.12 Inspection and mechanical cleaning.

2.13 Make visual check of the entire boiler unit and remove all debris.

2.14 Remove drum internals (If required) from steam drum as specified by TBW engineer.

2.15 After visual checks, close all access to the boiler unit internals.

2.16 Controls, interlocks and other requirements

Following minimum controls and requirements are necessary for boiler operation.

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2.17 Good working Drum level gauge glass with illuminator assembly.

2.18 Boiler drum pressure gauge.

2.19 Safety/relief valves with gags or hydrostatic plugs removed.

2.20 CBD and all drain valves in good working order.

2.21 Water level control and associated alarms.

2.22 Cooling water/air piping.

2.23 Furnace pressure gauge.

2.24 Temp.indications for bed, flue gas, feed water and steam line.

2.25 Safety interlocks.

During alkali boil out, transmiĴers connected to steam piping and steam drum will be kept isolated to
avoid any damages to transmiĴers due to alkali.


3.1 Ensure that blow down and drain connections are terminated to safe location.

3.2 Ensure that all dampers are in good working condition and “OPEN” “CLOSE” positions are
marked correctly.

3.3 Ensure that the feed water pumps operate satisfactorily.

3.4 Fill specified quality feed water to NWL by keeping all vents open. Drain the water completely
through boĴom drain, keeping the header outlet valve fully open. With this the boiler gets rinsed.

3.5 Fill the unit with specified quality of water up to the drum level approximately 200 to 300mm below
the man hole opening. (Fill the drum through normal feed water connections). DM Water should be
used for boil out operation. Add some hydrazine in Deaerator storage tank to have 1/2 PPM of
hydrazine traces in boiler water.
3.6 For alkali boil, 2500ppm of hydrous tri sodium phosphate (Na3PO4 12H20), 1000ppm anhydrous di
sodium phosphate (Na2PO4) and 225ppm weĴing agent (surfactant) will be used. WeĴing agent is
added to enhance the process of degreasing.

3.7 Exact quantity of chemicals is to be carried in dry form onto the drum level platform. The chemicals
are to be dissolved in DM water externally in a container near the drum manhole in batches. The
concentrated solutions so prepared are to be poured into the drum through the manhole. When the
entire quantity of chemical has been so dissolved and poured into the drum, close the manhole. Raise
the water level in the drum up to the light up level (2nd port in the gauge glass).


3.8.1 After ensuring the above, light up the unit and raise boiler pressure very slowly to closely monitor
the thermal expansion of the pressure parts and no case pressure raising should not exceed cold start
up pressure raising curve.

3.8.2 Ensure that the normal water level is maintained in the drum through out the boil out operation.

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Raise boiler pressure to 50% of working pressure (Drum) or 40kg/cm2 whichever is lower. Carry out the
boil out operation by maintaining this pressure for a period of 12 hours. The pressure is to be
maintained by controlling the fuel firing and modulation of the start up vent. During this process
normal drum level to be ensured.


On aĴaining approx, 5kg/cm2(g) drum pressure, quickly operate the intermiĴent blow down for 10 sec.
Restore drum water level to N.W.L. Allow drum pressure to raise upto a value which is 50% of
operating pressure or 40kg/cm2 (g) whichever is lower. Ensure that water level in the drum is
replenished each time. Leave the CBD valve slightly open to prevent choking of sample line and sample
cooler. Operate the IBD for 10 seconds once every hour.

With due care considering the firing conditions in side the combustor Each boĴom header drains to be
operated once in every hour for 30 sec one by one to remove the sediments from the boĴom headers. It
is advised to stop the firing or reducing the firing to very minimum to avoid any hot spots in the
pressure parts which may done in consultation with the commissioning Engineer.

At the end of 12 hours of boil out operation, a sample of boiler water is tested for oil traces, to
determine the end point of the process. Oil ppm should preferably be less than 5ppm.

If the oil levels are not coming down even after adequate draining, If required chemicals may be added
to drum through HP dosing system.

After stopping the firing, operate all the boĴom header drains for 30 – 45 sec to remove the sediments
from the headers.


4.1 Boiler water sample is analyzed for presence of oil. When analysis confirms that oil present in the
sample, is within limits (=< 5 PPM) the boil out operations treated as complete.

Rinsing to be done to match the boiler pH very close to feed water pH.

For confirmation it is advised to collect 3 samples within 5 minutes of each other and check for
consistency of results.

4.2 To neutralize the high pH drained water from blow down or from rinsing during blow out process, a
neutralization pit to be installed and the boiler drain lines to be temporarily connected to that. To
neutralize before draining into the trench, acid can be added and mixed by a stirrer or by air bubble.


5.1 Box up the boiler and allow the unit to cool by natural cooling. When the drum pressure drops to 2
kg/cm2 open the drum air vent & start up vent.

5.2 When the drum pressure drops to atmospheric, drain the boiler by opening all valves on drain

5.3 After draining the boiler, cut the inspection caps in all boĴom headers. Inspect drum and boĴom
headers for any sediment and for cleaning and flushing.

In case of in bed evaporator coils both in bed coils boĴom and top header end caps and inspection caps

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needs to be cut and inspected. It is to be ensured that all the drain holes in the baffle plates to be clean
and free from any blockage / foreign materials like weld slag / welding consumables.

5.4 Open the steam and water drum manholes and remove the sediments (if any).

5.5 Back flushing of super heaters and Flushing of the drums down comer, supply pipes convection
tubes thoroughly.

5.6 Re weld the end caps on headers as per the recommended procedures.

5.7 After welding radiography (if req.) Post weld heat treatment (if req.) hydro test of boiler to be
completed to the maximum working pressure.

About ajitkumarhyderabad

• Having about 35 years of experience with Tata Consulting Engineers in Commissioning, O&M of
Thermal / Combined cycle Power Plants. Worked as Chief Engineer Head of Plant BeĴerment
Department. Retired in September 2003. Worked as Consultant till May 2009. • Experience of 1 year as
Shift Charge Engineer Captive Power Plant and Turbo Blower Station with Bokaro Steel Ltd., (SAIL). •
Experience of 6.5 years as Assistant Engineer O&M at Durgapur Thermal Power Station DVC, West
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Ajit Kumar Hyderabad

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