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Boiler fouling is obstructing the flow of energy from the fire/flue gas to the steam in the waterwall or in the heat exchanger bundles.

Figure: The fouling is visible on the waterwall.

The process of slagging is closely related to that of fouling. Slagging refers to deposition of solid layers on the boiler tube, formed by sintering. Slagging is quite hard to remove and also (although it is sintered material) the slagging material is usually still a good insulator. For these reasons, most modern sootblowing systems are aimed at prevention of slagging. The deposition of slag and fouling is a self-propelling process. The deposition of the first particles strongly facilitates the process of deposition. Sensors that detect fouling and slagging are often called "Heat flux sensors" or deposition sensors. In fact these sensors in one way or another will measure heat flux.

The fouling behaviour of a boiler changes depending on fuil characteristings, load and other parameters of boiler operation. This makes it necessary to react on demand and therefore sensors as well as Intelligent Sootblowing systems are necessary for a safe and economical plant operation.

Heat Flux Sensor s

Figures: A heat flux sensor is incorporated in the waterwall of a boiler. By measuring the flux as a function of time, the process of soot accumulation can be monitored. The heat flux sensor functions as a slagging and fouling sensor. The key element of the Intelligent Sootblowing system and for the measurement of fouling is a heat flux sensor. The sensor measures the exchange of energy (in Watts per square meter) from the flame to the steam inside the waterwall tubes. In addition this sensor also measures the temperature of the tube wall. In fact the combination of the heat flux and the temperature signal allows accurate calculation of the tube skin temperature. These data are again used for calculations of the tube lifetime. (in fact the sensor is specially calibrated for this application). The heat flux sensor perfroms two functions: 1. as a deposition probe (indication the degree of slagging and fouling) 2. as a chordal thermocouple (offering the possibility to measure tube skin temperature)

Figures: A heat flux sensor incorporated in a boiler tube: cross section, normal situation on the left, with fouling / slagging on the right

Figure: Signal of a heat flux sensor incorporated in a boiler tube: from the clean to the fouled condition, the output signal level (heat flux) drops, and also the spectral content of the signal changes (the fouling dampens the signal).

Figure: Complete heat flux sensor, including lead out tube for the wiring and connection box for wiring.

Sootblow er

Boiler cleaning systems Steam generating plants are cleaned on-line by regularly removing ash deposits that accumulate on heat transfer surfaces. This maintains maximum thermal efficiency of the boiler (optimizes heat rate) and maintains flue gas temperatures within design conditions at key location. This, in turn, supports the optimum operation of air pollution control equipment. On-line cleaning also prevents the blockage and plugging of gas passages in the boiler. Cleaning medium An effective method of on-line boiler cleaning is to direct a concentrated jet of cleaning medium against the soot of ash buildup. The cleaning medium may be saturated steam, superheated steam, compressed air or water. Combinations of water with other media such as steam or air, have also proven effective but can cause boiler tube damage. Superheated steam is the most widely used medium for several reasons. Boilergenerated steam avoids the cost and maintenance of a compressor. Because it is generally extracted from a high pressure steam outlet and its pressure reduced by regulating valves, steam provides flexibility in case more aggressive cleaning is required. Superheated steam is generally recommended over saturated steam to avoid condensation in the cleaning flow, which can accelerate boiler tube erosion or result in thermal cracking. Application of sootblowers The application of sootblowers is individual for each boiler. In general sootblowers are use for cleaning Superheater, Reheater and Economizer. There are several types of sootblowers like full retractable, half retractable, oscillating and rake type of sootblowers. The design and layout of sootblowers is individual and specific to meet the installation requirements like flue gas temperature, cleaning effect, cleaning area, etc. Intelligent Sootblowing enables to use the cleaning force of the sootblowers

selectively and targetly according to the demand of the steam generator.