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CHAPTER 3
COMBUSTION MONITORING SETUP AT POWER
STATION

3.1

INTRODUCTION TO COMBUSTION MONITORING


The combustion condition monitoring involves boiler performance

and optimization. The necessity to monitor the condition of the flame as


discussed by Lu Gilabert et al (2005) is to control emissions of nitrogen oxide
(NOx), Carbon monoxide (CO), increased fuel efficiency and improved
burner reliability which are to maintain the required furnace temperature. The
flue gas emissions are increased at the outlet when the air to fuel ratio is
incorrect. This condition in turn influences the combustion quality.
The function of the flame monitoring technique incorporates a
virtual flame detector to identify non firing burners, a flame monitor with
adjustable memory, and a flame analyzer to determine the combustion status
of each burner. This sensing function is designed to provide guidance for
balancing air/fuel ratio between individual burners in a multi burner furnace
system with individual burner control capability.
The systems based on the latest optical sensing and digital image
processing techniques, are capable of determining geometric (size and
location), where the geometry of the burner is fixed for luminous (brightness
and uniformity) and fluid dynamic (temperature and flicker frequency)

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parameters of a flame. The systems are evaluated both on the laboratory and
industrial scale combustion rigs for a variety of operating conditions.
3.2

OBJECTIVE OF COMBUSTION
The objective of combustion is to retrieve energy by burning the

fuel in the most efficient possible way. To maximize combustion efficiency, it


is necessary to burn all the fuel material with least amount of losses. The
complete burning of fuels leads to energy efficient and economical
combustion process.
3.2.1

Complete Combustion
Complete combustion occurs when 100% of the energy in the fuel

is extracted. It is important to strive for complete combustion to preserve the


fuel and provide a cost effective combustion process. There must be enough
air in the combustion chamber for complete combustion to occur. The
addition of excess air greatly lowers the formation of CO (carbon monoxide)
by allowing CO to react with O2. The presence of smaller amounts of CO
remaining in the flue gas indicates that the combustion process is closer to
complete combustion. This is because the toxic gas like carbon monoxide
(CO) still contains a very significant amount of energy that should be
completely

burnt.

Combustion

process

can

be

made

complete

if

stoichiometric combustion takes place which is an ideal case.


3.3

FUEL
There are many fuels currently used in combustion processes

throughout the world, the most common are coal, oils, diesel oil, gasoline,
natural gas, propane, coke oven gas, and wood. Each fuel has different
chemical characteristics including, a unique carbon to hydrogen ratio, and

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calorific value. The amount of combustion air completely required to


completely burn a specific fuel will depend on those characteristics especially
the carbon to hydrogen ratio. The higher the carbon content in the fuel, the
more air required to achieve complete combustion. When monitoring the
efficiency of a combustion process, it is important to know the fuel being
burnt since this information will help not only to determine the boilers
optimal working conditions but also to maximize the boilers efficiency.
3.4

EFFECT OF BURNING COAL AND OIL

3.4.1

Coal
There are many varieties of coal being used in combustion process

around the world; the most widely used are anthracite, bituminous, subbituminous, and lignite. Asri Gani et al (2005) have stated that the quality of
coal is dependent on the carbon content which inturn affects the quality of
combustion. When coal is burnt a considerable amount of carbon dioxide is
generated as there is extremely high level of carbon in coal which requires
more oxygen and more combustion air to burn coal comparing to other
fossil fuels. In addition to the carbon dioxide emissions, burning the coal
produces some other pollutants including NOx, sulphur dioxide (SO2), sulphur
trioxide (SO3), and particulate emissions. The sulphur dioxide chemically
combines with water vapour in the air to produce a dilute form of sulphuric
acid, which is one of the main causes of acid rain. The coal from the coal
feeders are crushed finely and preheated so as to supply pulverized coal to the
furnace. The coal or lignite is supplied by the conveyor belt as shown in
Figure 3.1.

Figure 3.1 Lignite extraction feeder and belt conveyor system (Courtesy, NLC)
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3.4.2

Oil
The oil fuels are mostly a mixture of very heavy hydrocarbons,

which have higher levels of hydrogen than those found in coal. At the same
time, oil contains less carbon than coal and therefore requires less combustion
air to achieve complete combustion. Therefore, burning the oil releases less
carbon dioxide than burning the coal and more carbon dioxide than burning
the natural gas. Most of the pollutants produced when burning coal are also
the by-products of burning the oil.
3.4.3

Air Flow
It is fundamental to maintain appropriate airflow in combustion

process so as to ensure safe and complete combustion. The total airflow


includes combustion air, infiltration air and dilution air.
3.4.4

Combustion Air
The combustion air is actually used to burn the fuel.

3.4.5

Infiltration Air
Infiltration air is the outdoor air that is not deliberately remains in

the boiler. Sources of infiltration air may be by means of cracks or leaks.


3.4.6

Dilution Air
The dilution air combines with the flue gases and lowers the

concentration of the emissions. There are two types of dilution air, i.e., natural
and induced (artificially created). The process of combustion is a high speed,
high temperature chemical reaction which occurs when the elements in a fuel
combine with oxygen and produce heat. All fuels, whether they are solid,

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liquid or in gaseous form, consists primarily the compounds of carbon and


hydrogen called hydrocarbons. Sulphur is also present in these fuels.
The combustion is a rapid chemical reaction of two or more
substances with a characteristic liberation of heat and light which is
commonly called as burning. The burning of a fuel (e.g., wood, coal, oil, or
natural gas) in the presence of air is a familiar example of combustion
process. Combustion need not involve oxygen; e.g., hydrogen burns in
chlorine to form hydrogen chloride with the liberation of heat and light which
denotes the characteristic of combustion. Before a substance burns, it must be
heated to its ignition point. Pure substances have ignition points based on
their characteristics.
The burning of any substance, in gaseous, liquid or solid form is
called as combustion process. In its broad definition, combustion includes fast
exothermic chemical reactions, generally in the gas phase but not excluding
the reaction of solid carbon with a gaseous oxidant. Flames represent
combustion reactions that can propagate through space at subsonic velocity
and are accompanied by the emission of light. The flame is the result of
complex interactions of chemical and physical processes whose quantitative
description must draw on a wide range of disciplines such as chemistry,
thermodynamics, fluid dynamics and molecular physics. In the course of the
chemical reaction, energy is released in the form of heat, atoms and free
radicals with the generation of all highly reactive intermediates of the
combustion reactions.
When the hydrogen and oxygen combine, intense heat and water
vapour is formed. When carbon and oxygen combine, intense heat and the
compounds of carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide are formed. The
combination of sulphur and oxygen leads to the formation of sulphur dioxide
and heat. These chemical reactions take place in a furnace during the burning

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of the fuel, provided there is sufficient air (oxygen) to completely burn the
fuel. Very little of the released carbon is actually consumed in the combustion
reaction because the flame temperature seldom reaches the vaporization point
of carbon. Most of it combines with oxygen to form CO2 and passes out
through the vent. Carbon, which cools before it can combine with oxygen to
form CO2, passes out the vent as visible smoke. The intense yellow colour of
an oil flame is largely caused by incandescent carbon particles.
3.5

EXISTING SETUP AT NEYVELI LIGNITE CORPORATION


(NLC)
The primary objective of this work is to develop an intelligent

combustion quality and flue gas monitoring system using flame image
analysis by colour image processing at the furnace level. Conventional
combustion control systems for multi burner furnaces rely on simplified
temperature measurement schemes away from the flame and monitoring of
excess O2, CO, CO2, NOx and SOx emissions. According to the brightness
value of flame image pixels, the combustion characteristic parameters are
picked up from the flame image. The online monitoring of combustion quality
and flue gas emissions using intelligent image processing technique thereby
automatic adjustment of air/fuel ratio can be achieved so as to ensure
complete combustion.
The boilers are steam generators which convert preheated water
into super heated steam. This high pressure super heated steam drives the
turbine coupled to a generator which in turn generates power. The Thermal
Power Station (TPS) Expansion-I at Neyveli (NLC) has two units with
generation capacity of 210MW each. The specifications of the boiler are
given in Table 3.1 and the general arrangements of the boiler at NLC is
shown in the Figure 3.2.

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3.6

TANGENTIAL FIRING SYSTEM


The total height of the boiler is 90m and the entire firing process

gets over within 42m. The furnace is located at the 19 meter level of the boiler
where heavy oil is used for initial firing. Thereafter the firing process is
enhanced by using lignite as the fuel whose calorific value is 2350 kCal/kg
and fired at a rate of 189 to 230 t/hr. The firing system is called as tangential
firing system which includes six mills to crush the coal so that it becomes fine
powder. The chemical composition of the coal used is given in Table 3.2. The
coal is also preheated and it is used as pulverized coal whose quality is
dependent on the moisture and ash content. The tangential firing system is
shown in Figure 3.3.
Table 3.1 Boiler data at Neyveli Lignite Corporation
S.No

Parameters

Specifications

1.

Type

Radiant tower

2.

Circulation

Natural

3.

Manufacture

Ansaldo Energia

4.

Boiler Design Pressure

182 kg/cm2(a)

5.

Fuel

Lignite

6.

Start-up fuel

Light Diesel Oil Heavy Fuel oil

7.

Burners type

Tangential Firing

8.

Number of burners

12 Lignite and 8 Fuel oil burners

9.

Mills type

Ventilation Mill MB 3400/900/490

10.

Number of Mills

6 numbers

11.

SH Flow at outlet

540 t/hr

12.

Temperature SH at outlet

540 degree Celsius

13.

Lignite fired-Best

189 t/hr

14.

Lignite fired-Average

213 t/hr

15.

Lignite fired-worst

230 t/hr

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Table 3.2 Coal characteristics under normal operating conditions


S.No.

Parameters

Average Values

1.

Net Calorific Value

2350 kcal/kg

2.

Moisture (M)

52%

3.

Ash (A)

6%

Combustible Substances
4.

Carbon (C)

29.19%

5.

Hydrogen (H)

2.02%

6.

Sulphur (S)

1.0%

7.

Nitrogen (N)

0.44%

8.

Oxygen (O)

9.36%

9.

Total (M+A+C+S+N+O)

100.0%

Figure 3.2 General Arrangements of a Boiler at NLC (Courtesy, NLC)

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The existing setup at NLC has an infrared camera placed inside a


water cooled jacket with servo motor mechanism for retracting the same. The
video captured by the camera is displayed on the CRT monitor at control
room. The flame video displayed on the CRT monitor is used for identifying
the presence or absence of the flame to avoid explosion of the boiler. The
repeated loading of the furnace without monitoring the flame status causes
explosion of the boiler which is very dangerous. The Figure 3.4 shows the
block diagram for the existing flame monitoring set up at NLC.

Figure 3.3 Tangential firing system (Courtesy, NLC)

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Figure 3.4 Schematic diagram for existing flame monitoring setup


3.7

FURNACE
An industrial furnace or direct fired heater is an equipment used to

provide heat for the combustion process or can serve as reactor which
provides heat for reaction. Furnace designs vary depending on its function,
heating purpose, type of fuel and method of introducing combustion air.
However, most process furnaces have some common features. The schematic
diagram of the furnace is shown in Figure 3.5.
Fuel flows into the burner and is burnt with air provided from an air
blower. There can be more than one burner in a particular furnace which can
be arranged in cells. This arrangement heats a particular set of tubes. Burners
can also be floor mounted, wall mounted or roof mounted depending on the
design considerations. The flames heat up the tubes, which in turn heats the
fluid inside in the first part of the furnace known as the radiant section or
firebox. In this chamber where combustion takes place, the heat is transferred
mainly by radiation to tubes around the fire in the chamber. The preheated
fluid passes through the tubes and is thus heated to the desired temperature.
The gases from the combustion process are known as the flue gases. After the
flue gas leaves the firebox, most furnace designs include a convection section
where more heat is recovered before venting it to the atmosphere through the
flue gas stack. The furnace data is given in Table 3.3.

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Table 3.3 Parameters and data of the furnace at NLC


S.No

Furnace parameters

Furnace data

1.

Type

Dry bottom furnace

2.

Depth

13m

3.

Width

13m

4.

Height

85m

5.

Volume

14365m3

Figure 3.5 Schematic diagram of a furnace (courtesy, NLC)


In this chamber where combustion takes place, the heat energy
from the fuel is used to heat the secondary fluid with special additives like
antirust and high heat transfer efficiency. This Heated Transferred Fluid
(HTF) is then circulated round the whole plant to heat exchangers to be used

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wherever heat is needed instead of directly heating the product line as the
product or material may be volatile or prone to cracking at the furnace
temperature.
3.8

NEED FOR STEAM AND ITS TEMPERATURE CONTROL


The rate at which heat is transferred to the fluid in the tube banks of

a boiler will depend on the rate of heat input from the fuel or exhaust from the
gas turbine. This heat will be used to convert water to steam and then to
increase the temperature of the steam in the superheating stage. In a boiler,
the temperature of the steam will also be affected by the pattern in which the
burners are fired since some of the tubes pick up heat by direct radiation from
the burners. In both types of plant, the temperature of the steam will also be
affected by the flow of fluid within the tubes and by the way in which the hot
gases circulate within the boiler. As the steam flow increases, the temperature
of the steam in the banks of tubes that are directly influenced by the radiant
heat of combustion starts to decrease as the increasing flow of fluid takes
away more of the heat that falls on the metal. Therefore the steam
temperature/steam flow profile shows a decline as the steam flow increases.
On the other hand, the temperature of the steam in the banks of tubes in the
convection passes tends to increase because of the higher heat transfer
brought about by the increased flow of gases, so that this temperature/flow
profile shows a rise in temperature as the flow increases. By combining these
two characteristics (the one rising and the other falling) the boiler designer
will aim to achieve a fairly flat temperature/flow characteristic over a wide
range of steam flow.
No matter how successfully this target is attained, it cannot yield an
absolutely flat temperature/flow characteristic. Without any additional
control, the temperature of the steam leaving the final super heater of the

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boiler would vary with the rate of steam flow, following the 'natural
characteristic' of the boiler. The shape of this will depend on the particular
design of plant, but in general, the temperature will rise to a peak as the load
increases, after which it will fall. The steam turbine or the process plant that is
to receive the steam usually requires the temperature to remain at a precise
value over the entire load range, and it is mainly for this reason that some
dedicated means of regulating the temperature must be provided. Since
different banks of tubes are affected in different ways by the radiation from
the burners and the flow of hot gases, an additional requirement is to provide
some means of adjusting the temperature of the steam within different parts of
the circuit, to prevent any one section from becoming overheated.
The design of the plant should be targeted on arranging for the
natural characteristic to attain the correct steam temperature when the rate of
steam flow is such as to operate in normal mode. If this is possible, it means
that spray water is used only when the unit is being brought up to load or
when it operates at off design conditions. In practice this objective can be
attained only to a limited extent, because the boiler's natural characteristic
changes with time due to factors such as fouling of the metal surfaces, which
affects the heat transfer. In general, it is common to operate with continuous
spraying, which has the advantage of allowing the steam temperature to be
adjusted both upwards and downwards. If the required temperature is to be
met solely by employing the natural characteristic as described, it would not
be possible to produce temperature increase. The mechanisms which are
employed to regulate the temperature according to the controller's command
depends on whether the temperature of the steam is lowered below the
saturation point or not and the controlling devices are known as attemperator
or desuperheater.

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3.9

CONTROL OF AIR TO FUEL RATIO


The fuel/air ratio is the lowest if excess air level (measure in

percent of oxygen O2) is present in the flue gas at a set firing rate without the
carbon monoxide (CO) being produced. At low firing rates; the burner design
requires more excess air to ensure the mixing of air with the fuel in proper
ratio. At higher firing rates there is enough differential pressure drop (burner
wind box to combustion chamber area) for the air to mix with the fuel. All
boilers have a fuel/air ratio curve and it is extremely important that the plant
has this documented information. In other words ratio control is adopted to
maintain the air fuel ratio. The air to fuel ratio is the proportion of air to fuel
supplied during combustion process. The optimal ratio (the stoichiometric
ratio) occurs when all the fuel and oxygen in the reaction chamber balance
each other perfectly. Rich burning occurs when there is more fuel than air in
the combustion chamber while lean burning occurs when there is more air and
less fuel in the combustion chamber. The DCS display is available for the air
to fuel ratio control so as to ensure complete combustion and the quality of
combustion is judged manually out of experience.
The fuel and air quantities are manually adjusted. Chris Carter et al
(2003) suggested that either the gain or the bias is altered to change the
combustion conditions. With such systems, if the adjustment factor is set
wrongly or if changes outside the system dictate that the fuel/air ratio should
be altered, no provision exists for automatic correction and the right
combustion conditions can only be restored by manual intervention. To
improve performance and safety, some form of automatic recognition and
correction of these factors would be preferable. If the fuel/air ratio is
incorrect, combustion of the fuel will be affected and the results will be
observable in the flue gases. This indicates that an effective way to optimize
the combustion process is to change the fuel/air ratio automatically in
response to measurements of the flue gas content. For all fossil fuel boilers,

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the oxygen content of the flue gases increases as the excess air quantity is
increased, while the carbon dioxide and water content decreases. Enrique
Teruela et al (2005) stated that the carbon monoxide content of the boiler's
flue gas is a direct indication of the completeness of the combustion process
and the system based on the measurement of this parameter has been
recognized as an effective mechanism for improving combustion performance
in coal and oil fired boiler plant.
Measurement of the flue gas and oxygen content often provides a
good indication of combustion performance, but it must be appreciated that
the presence of 'tramp air' due to leakages into the combustion chamber can
lead to anomalous readings. In the presence of significant leakage, reducing
the air/fuel ratio to minimize the flue gas and oxygen content can result in the
burners being starved of air. This is an area where systems based on carbon
monoxide measurements provide better results since the carbon monoxide
content of the gases is a direct indication of combustion performance and is
unaffected by the presence of tramp air. A system which adjusts the fuel/air
ratio in relation to the flue gas oxygen content is shown in Figure 3.6.
The oxygen measurement is fed to a controller whose output
adjusts the fuel/air ratio by varying the multiplying factor of a gain block. The
transmitters used for measuring the flue gas and oxygen are usually based on
the use of zirconium probes whose conductivity is affected by the oxygen
content of the atmosphere in which they are installed. Nowadays true two
wire 4-20 mA analyzers are available. The flue gases leave the combustion
chamber through ducts of considerable cross sectional area and it is inevitable
that a significant degree of stratification will occur in the gases as they flow to
the chimney. Air entering the furnace through the registers of idle burners will
tend to produce higher oxygen content in the gases flowing along one area of
the duct than will be present in another area, where fewer burners may be idle.
It is therefore necessary to take considerable care that any gas analysis

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provides a truly representative sample of the average oxygen content, and this
demands that great care should be exercised over the selection of the location
of the analyzer. With larger ducts it may be necessary to provide several
analyzers. The signals from these analyzers can be combined, or the operator
can be given the facility to select one or more signals for use.

Figure 3.6 Air/Fuel ratio control with oxygen trimming mechanism


3.9.1

Milling System for Lignite Supply


The location of the lignite mills that supply finely powdered

preheated coal to the furnace at NLC is shown in the Figure 3.7. The initial
firing is done using oil which is supplied from the oil tank. The coal is
preheated using the heat energy extracted from the flue gases. The lignite is
fed into the mills at the end of the resuction duct. As the lignite inherently has
moisture of more than 40%, the flue gas from the boiler at a temperature of
800 degree Celsius is sucked into the mills through rescution duct, there by

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absorbing the moisture before the coal being pulverized to the micron level.
The pulverized fuel is fed into the furnace through coal burner valves. The
lignite burner mouth is provided at two levels of 19 m level and 21 m level.

Figure 3.7 Milling system to pulverise the Lignite (Courtesy, NLC)

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The oil tank along with the oil coolers is provided for lubrication of
the milling system. The hot sealing air is provided for sealing the mills to
prevent any problems due to buffing. The service water provided is for the
safety of the mills so as to encounter the rise in temperature at the inside of
the mills.
The supply lines include heavy oil inlet, outlet, light fuel oil,
atomizing steam, service air, cooling air to flame scanners and burners. The
parameters include design pressure, design temperature, operating pressure,
operating temperature and flow. The cooling air also supplied to keep the
flame scanners so as to keep them cool. This arrangement will not only
increase the life time of the flame scanners and but also prevent them from
excessive heat.
3.9.2

Air Supply for Combustion Process


The coal is obtained from the coal mines at Neyveli. The coal is

crushed into fine powder in the mills and is preheated. The coal stored in the
bunker is transported to the coal mills through the conveyor belt. There are six
mills namely A, B, C, D, E and F placed tangentially at two levels (19 meter
level and 21 meter level). Nearly 9000 to 10,000 kg of coal is fed into the
hearth of the furnace every day. The fine powdered coal is then sent to the
Electrostatic Precipitator (ESP) for removal of any fine metallic dust particles
present in it. It is then preheated so that the pulverized coal is fed to the hearth
of the furnace which yields better heat energy when compared to the coal
lumps. The diagram in Figure 3.8 depicts the combustion air for Lignite and
oil firing system.

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Figure 3.8

Combustion air supply for lignite and oil firing system


(Courtesy, NLC)

The oil firing system (black coloured line) comprises of eight


burners at two levels (one at 19 m level and the other at 21 m level). Light
Diesel Oil (LDO) or Low Sulphur Heavy Stock (LSHS) is used for intital
firing followed by lignite firing. The combustion air for lignite comprises of
primary air, secondary air and the teritary air.

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The primary air (red coloured line) is used for the control of the
inlet temperature to the mill. In addition to this for the temperature control
inside the mill, attemperator is used for spraying the cold water on the flue
gas. The line from the attemperator is shown in blue colour. The same gas is
also used for sealing the mouth of the lignite burner.
The secondary air (pink coloured line) indicates the combustion of
the lignite. A part of this air is used in AAF (Additional Air Port) which is
indicated as over fire air port. This air enables complete combustion.
The green coloured line is the hot sealing air to prevent buffing of
the mill as explained earlier in the milling system.
3.10

OIL CONTROL
The oil control contains the LSHS and LDO flow control. The LDO

flow control is designed to maintain the proper flow to oil burners satisfying
the boiler demand; the control philosophy is based on simple feedback closed
control loop limited by the output signal of LDO pressure at burners control
loop. Similarly the LSHS flow control is designed to maintain the proper flow
to oil burners satisfying the boiler demand. The control philosophy is based
on the simple feedback closed loop control limited by the output signal of
LSHS at the control loop of the burners.
3.10.1

LSHS and LDO Flow Control


A low selecting logic compares the boiler firing rate (demand

signal), generated by Unit Coordinator logic, to the total boiler combustion air
flow signal (measured at RAHs outlet, upstream the common header), the
lowest of them, deducted by coal flow (if any) via another low selecting logic
and compared to the Secondary Air (SA) flow to the signal of the oil burners,

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the lowest of them becomes the total oil flow demand, common to LSHS and
LDO control loops. The result is that the total fuel demand is limited to the
level of the signal representing available total air flow and that of the set point
of the oil flow which is limited to the level of the signal representing the
available secondary air flow to oil burners.
The total oil flow demand, deducted by LDO flow signal becomes
the set point of the LSHS flow controller which is compared to its flow
measurement and through a dedicated controller sets the demand for the
LSHS control valve.
The flow control valve of LSHS is positioned by a high selecting
logic that compares the output signal of flow controller to the output signal of
pressure controller; the highest of them becomes the actual position demand
for the LSHS flow control valve. The loop will be forced to manual operation
if no burner is in service with LSHS or if one or the other fuel masters (LDO
coal) is in automatic mode.
As soon as the LSHS main trip valve opens the control valve will
be forced to fixed open position until the first LSHS burner is in operation and
then the LSHS flow control loop will be released to auto mode. For boiler trip
the total oil flow demand is forced to zero value and thus the LSHS control
valve will close.
The LDO flow control is designed to maintain the proper flow to
oil burners satisfying the boiler demand; the control philosophy is based on
simple feedback closed control loop limited by the output signal of LDO
pressure at burners control loop.

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The total oil flow demand, deducted by LSHS flow signal, becomes
the set point of the LDO flow controller that is compared to its flow
measurement and through a dedicated controller sets the demand for the LDO
control valve.
To avoid that flames to active burners can be lost due to LDO low
pressure i.e. control valve too much closed, a high selecting logic compares
the output signal of flow controller to the output signal of pressure controller
and the highest of them becomes the actual position demand for the LDO
flow control valve.
The loop will be forced to manual if no burner is in service with
LDO or if one of the other fuel master (LSHS and coal) is in automatic mode.
As soon as the LDO main trip valve opens the control valve will be
forced to fixed open position until the first LDO burner is in operation and
then the LDO flow control loop will be released to auto mode. For boiler trip
the total oil flow demand is forced to zero value and thus the LDO control
valve will close.
3.10.2

Atomizing Steam Pressure Control


The atomizing steam pressure control is a simple feedback closed

control loop designed to maintain a steam constant pressure to oil burners to


allow a good combustion. The set point is computed as a function of burner
load and is manipulated by the operator via a biasing capability.
The set point is compared to atomizing steam pressure value and
through the controller sets the demand for the related control valve.

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3.11

AIR CONTROL

3.11.1

Secondary Air to Oil Burners Flow Control


The Secondary Air (SA) to oil burners flow control is designed to

maintain the proper flow to oil burners satisfying the boiler demand, the
control philosophy is a simple feedback closed control loop.
A high selecting logic compares the boiler firing rate demand
signal, generated by Unit Coordinator logic deducted by coal flow (if any), to
the total oil flow signal, the highest of them becomes the SA to oil burners
flow demand (set point); the result is that SA flow demand is limited to (not
lower than) the level of the signal representing available oil flow.
The SA to oil burners set point is compared to the flow
measurement and through the dedicated controller sets the SA total flow
demand for all the oil burners in service.
Since each oil burner is equipped with its SA control damper, the
SA flow demand is multiplied by 8 (total number of oil burners) and divided
by the number of oil burners in service, so the gain of the total loop doesnt
depend on the number of burners in service.
Proper firing action is performed according to the request from the
burner management system which forces air and flue gases. The positioning
of the oil burners and SA control dampers are as follows
minimum position for cooling; it means that, when related
burner is out of service, the damper will be almost quite closed
partially open (approx. 30%) to guarantee minimum combustion
air flow rate to perform furnace purge sequence

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last position for five minutes if the combustion air flow is below
the purge rate at the time of the trip, waiting time for purge
fully open for natural draft requirement
One for each burner, i.e. eight, slave control loops are provided,
receiving the same flow demand from the unique master loop. Each slave
loop is provided with independent biasing capability by the operator.
3.12

EXCESS OXYGEN CONTROL


If only the amount of theoretical air are furnished some fuel would

not burn, therefore to assure a complete combustion additional combustion air


has to be furnished; the additional amount of combustion air is called excess
air, and it is evaluated by the oxygen percentage not used that leaves the
boiler in the flue gases.
So the oxygen trim control loop is used to calibrate continuously
the combustion air flow demand; the O2 percentage set point is a function of
the boiler load (SH steam flow) and the operator has a biasing capability to
shift the O2 percentage set point curve up or down of the established curve
based on boiler test. The O2 percentage set point is compared to the analyzer
output signal and through a dedicated controller sets the oxygen percentage
correction, which is sent to the air master. In order to avoid wind up, the
integral action is blocked if the air master is in manual mode. At the output of
the oxygen trimming control high and low limits are provided. The
arrangement of an oxygen analyzer is shown in Figure 3.9.
The oxygen measurement is fed to a controller whose output
adjusts the fuel/air ratio by varying the multiplying factor of a gain block. The
transmitters used for measuring flue-gas oxygen are usually based on the use
of zirconium probes, whose conductivity is affected by the oxygen content of

59

the atmosphere in which they are installed. True two wire 4-20 mA analyzers
are now available and both are accurate and reliable.

Figure 3.9 Arrangement of Oxygen analyzer


3.13

COAL MASTER CONTROL


The control loop of the coal master is devoted to develop the total

coal demand. A low selecting logic compares the boiler firing rate demand
signal, generated by unit coordinator logic, to the total boiler combustion air
flow signal, the lowest of them, deducted by total oil flow (if any), becomes
the set point of the coal master controller; the result is that the total fuel
demand is limited to the level of the signal representing the availability of the
total air flow.

60

The coal demand is compared to the total coal flow measurements


and through a dedicated controller sets the demand for all mills (coal total
demand), i.e. the output signal of the coal master control station. In order to
obtain the coal demand to each mill, the total demand of the coal is multiplied
by 4 (because the mill coal rate can be achieved by 4 mills at full load); the
resulting signal is subtracted from the rate of coal supplied to the mills and
this ratio by the number of mills in service and in automatic mode; the result
is that the gain of the total loop which does not depend on the number of mills
in service and that each mill mode (automatic / manual) toggling is bumpless.
The loop will be forced to manual if no mill is in service (and in
automatic mode) or if one the other fuel masters (LSHS - LDO) is in
automatic mode.
In order to compensate for inaccuracy in speed of the coal feeders,
the coal flow signal is calibrated by means of the heat release, calculated by
using the boiler as a calorimeter, taking into consideration superheated steam
flow (pressure and temperature compensated), drum pressure and feed water
temperature (total boiler heat release) deducting of the amount due to total oil
flow, thus representing the heat release by coal as fuel. The time function is
taken into consideration and the delay due to the grinding and coal
transportation. For boiler trip, the total coal demand is forced to zero.
3.14

MILL COAL RATE CONTROL


Six of the hereinafter control loops are provided, one for each mill.

Each individual mill coal rate control consists of the control loop that
regulates related coal feeders and the conveyor belt speed.

61

3.14.1

Coal Rate Control


The coal rate control loop is a simple feedback control. To improve

the response of the mill a dynamic action on coal demand to mill is added, as
described here in Equation (3.1)

Y(s)

where

1 sT1
U(s)
1 sT2

(3.1)

U(s) is coal demand to each mill in the frequency domain;


Y(s) is coal feeders rate demand, in the frequency domain;
T1

T2 , in order to have a demand amplification during transient.

The resulting rate demand of the coal feeder rate demand, biased if
any by the operator, is compared to mill coal feeder rate (i.e. coal volume);
the error through a dedicated controller sets the total coal demand, which is
sent to.
When the mill outlet temperature exceeds the operating value, but
below the trip value, the characterized signal of the mill outlet temperature
will be deducted to coal feeders rate demand (i.e. set point) trying to get back
the mill outlet temperature within the range.
The loop is forced to manual if both the coal feeders control loop
and the belt conveyor speed control loop are selected in manual mode. If mill
motor current absorption is low, the loop control output (mill coal demand)
cannot decrease; if mill motor current absorption is high, the coal demand
cannot increase. If only one coal feeder is in service, the mill coal demand is
limited at 50%, as mill full load can be reached by 2 feeders at full speed.

62

3.14.2

Coal Feeder Control


The total demand of the coal feeders is multiplied by 2 (number of

feeders at full speed required for full mill load) and the ratio of number of
coal feeders in service, so that the gain of the total loop does not depend on
the number of feeders which are under operation.
The resulting signal, via a high selecting logic, is compared to the
minimum speed of the coal feeder so as to avoid the amount of coal
transported to the mills, droping below the minimum, causing flame
instability.
The secondary air control in automatic mode, the proper substoichiometic ratio between coal and air are the two important factors
governing the combustion process. If the mill control or secondary air control
is in manual mode, the speed demand of coal feeder is limited by the available
secondary and primary air flow.
Then the output signal of the above logic, via low selecting logic, is
compared with the speed of the conveyor belt (taking into account the number
of feeders in service) so that the coal feeder speed cannot increase beyond the
speed of the conveyor belt, avoiding abnormal coal accumulation on the
conveyor belt.
The resulting speed demand is sent to three coal feeders. Each
speed demand is forced to zero if the related feeder is not in service and
forced to a proper prefixed value at the feeder start up.

63

3.15

AIR FLOW CONTROL TO COAL MILLS


The air flow control to the coal mills includes Primary Air (PA),

Secondary Air (SA) and Tertiary Air (TA) flow control. Six of the control
loops are provided, one for each mill. The secondary air flow control is
designed to maintain the air flow in its proper relationship with fuel for good
combustion conditions by operating the associated control dampers in the
order of two for each mill.
According to the mill status, high selection logic compares the
secondary air demand signal to a fixed value (i.e. minimum secondary air
flow, cooling air); the highest of them becomes the set point of the secondary
air flow controller in the mill. The air flow control is shown in Figure 3.10
and 3.11.

Figure 3.10 Closed loop control of PA flow

64

Figure 3.11 Secondary air flow control to coal mills


3.15.1

Primary Air (PA) Control to the Coal Mills


The speed of the feeder is sometimes fed back to the master system

as an indication of coal flow, to provide a closed loop operation. It is not a


perfect solution, since a change in the calorific value of the coal cannot be
determined by this system. But in the absence of reliable and fast systems for
measuring the heat input from coal it becomes a challenging task.
Although the system described above provides the necessary
control, it cannot deal with the changes in the Primary Air (PA) flow caused
by the external factors. Therefore, if the PA flow changes, the system must
wait for the resulting change in steam pressure before a correction is made.

65

An approach to overcome this limitation is to provide a closed-loop


control of the primary air flow. The system detects and immediately reacts to
the changes in PA flow, and adjusts the flow control damper to compensate
the disturbances so as to minimize the steam production. Again, a feeder
speed signal, representing fuel flow, is fed back to the master system to
provide closed loop correction for speed changes, which would otherwise
introduce disturbances in the steam pressure.
Both of these systems adjust the feeder speed after the PA flow has
been changed, and this can lead to the delayed response to changes in the
demand. A system that adjusts the speed of the feeder in parallel with the PA
flow is incorporated. This also shows some practical refinements like
minimum limit block that prevents the PA flow from being reduced below a
predetermined limit, and a minimum selector block which prevents the coal
feed being increased above the availability of primary air (the bias unit sets
the margin of air over coal).
3.15.2

Secondary Air Flow Control to Coal Mills


The SA flow set point is compared to the SA of the related mill

plus the evaluated PA flow (temperature compensated) and through a


controller sets the demand for the control of the dampers.
According to the mill status, the secondary air demand signal will
be as follows:
no mill in service: the above signal will be equal to zero, it means
only minimum secondary air will be required
related mill in service: the above signal will be the characterized
mill load signal (i.e. mill coal feeders rate)

66

related mill out of service and at least one mill in service


The above signal will be equal to approximately 75% (to be
defined) of the average SA flow to mills in service.
The SA flow demand is actually the average demand for each of the
two dampers. The operator can settle a bias in order to divide the demand
between the two dampers. If one damper is in manual mode and the other
damper in automatic mode then the variation in the mode of operation is
compensated by the damper not participating in the control. Thus, the bias is
continuously calculated when one or more dampers are in manual mode.
When the last damper is put in automatic mode, the bias is released
and is actually between the dampers. The resulting demand to the individual
damper is compared to the damper position (measured by position transmitter)
through a high reset proportional plus integral controller which sets the
controller output for the P/I converter.
Proper firing action is performed according to the request from the
burner management system depending on the air and flue gases in a functional
group that forces the SA control dampers to proper position. They are as
follows
Partially open (approx. X%) to perform mill startup
Partially open (approx. 30%) to guarantee minimum combustion
and air flow rate to perform furnace purge sequence
Last position for five minutes if the combustion air flow is
below the purge rate at the time of the trip including the waiting
time for purge
Fully open for natural draft requirement

67

3.15.3

Secondary and Tertiary Air Flow Control to the Coal Mills


According to the mill status, a high selection logic compares the air

demand signal to a fixed value (i.e. minimum mill air flow, cooling air), the
highest of them, multiplied by the output of the air master control station (i.e.
excess air demand) which becomes the set point of the secondary plus tertiary
air flow controller to the mills.
The SA plus the TA flow set point is compared to the related SA
plus TA flow of the mill (temperature compensated) through a controller that
sets the demand for the control damper. According to the mill status, the
secondary plus tertiary air demand signal will be as follows
no mills in service: the above signal will be equal to zero, it
means only minimum air will be required;
the related mill in service: the above signal will be the
characterized boiler load signal (i.e. SH steam flow)
The related mill out of service and at least one mill in service:
the above signal will be equal to approx. 75% (to be defined) of
the average SA plus TA flow to mills in service.
The resulting demand of the individual damper is compared with
the damper position (measured by position transmitter) through a high reset
proportional plus integral controller that sets the control output to the P/I
converter.
Proper firing action are performed according to the request from
burner management system and air and flue gases functional group that force
SA plus TA control damper at proper position, that are as follows

68

partially open (approx. X%) to perform mill start-up


partially open (approx. 30%) to guarantee minimum combustion
air flow rate to perform furnace purge sequence
last position for five minutes if the combustion air flow is below
the purge rate at the time of the trip, waiting time for purge
fully open for natural draft requirement
3.16

MONITORING THE FLUE GAS EMISSIONS USING GAS


ANALYZERS
Conservation of sound environment is an important task. The

present set up consists of a gas analyzer for measuring SOx, NOx, CO and
CO2 emissions which is a ZKJ gas analyzer. The gas samples collected are
converted to an equivalent electrical signal (4-20mA) which is in turn
visualized in the DCS. The major drawback with these gas analyzers are
formation of sulphuric acid when the temperature of the flue gas falls below
160 degree Celsius. This phenomenon is called as cold end corrosion. Hence
this requires extensive day to day maintenance which is a tedious job. This
type of analyzer comes in the category of dual beam type. The overview of
the gas analyzer and its overall arrangement is shown in the Figure 3.12. The
features of the gas analyzer are as follows
Measurement by the infrared ray method (dual beam optics) and
excellent in long-term stability.
Hardly affected by unintended gases because interference
components' influence is corrected with twin detectors.
Standard equipped with automatic zero/span calibrating function.
Space saving design allowing maintenance from the front of
each analyzer.

69

The specifications of the gas analyzer are listed in the Table 3.4.
Table 3.4 Specifications for gas analyzer
Type/Rating
S.No Characteristics / criteria/Type
1. Measuring object
Exhaust gas of Incinerator and
boiler, etc.
2. Measurable components
NOX, SO2, CO and CO2 emissions
3. Measuring system
4. Measurement range for NOX
emissions
5. Measurement range for SO2
emissions
6. Measurement range for CO
emissions
7. Measurement range for CO2
emissions
8. Repeatability
9. Linearity
10. Zero/span drift
11. Response time
12. Output signal
13. Contact output

14. Contact input


15. Function

16. Display
17. Recorder
18. Power supply
19. Outer dimensions

Dual beam type infrared method


0 to 50
0 to 50
0 to 50
0 to 10 % or 0 to 20%
0.5%FS
1%FS
2%FS/week (O2: 2%/month)
90% response, from the device inlet
4 to 20mA DC
Auto calibration status,
maintenance status, concentration
alarm, CO peak count alarm, range
identification of each component
Auto calibration start, range, change
over, pump ON-OFF.
Auto calibration, average value
calculation, concentration alarm,
CO peak count alarm
LCD with back light
6-point recorder mounted
100V, 110V, 115V, 200V or 230V
AC
800 W x 1800(H) x 825(D) mm

70

Figure 3.12 Overall arrangement of gas analyzer for measurement of


flue gases
3.16.1

Gas Sampling System


The gas sampling system includes gas extractor for extracting the

sample of flue gases. From here the collected gas sample passes to mist filter
after passing through a drain separator from the inlet valve. The drain
separator helps to filter the dust particles before it passes through the mist
filter. The flue gases at the exhaust should be at a temperature of 150 degrees
Celsius. If this temperature falls below 140 degree Celsius then formation of
mist takes place. Hence the mist can be reduced to a certain extent. The
pressure of the exhaust gases are reduced at pressure drain pot. A three way
solenoid valve regulates the flow of flue gases to the gas aspirator from where
the sample of harmful flue gases are collected and sent to mist catcher which
captures the moisture and further the gas samples are dried in a gas dryer.
From the gas samples the NOx, SOx, CO and CO2 gases are collected in a set
up fitted with pressure regulating solenoid valves. A flow meter with a
membrane filter arrangement is used before the flue gas reaches the infrared
gas analyzers. The Figure 3.13 shows the subsystem for gas sampling.

71

Figure 3.13 Gas sub sampling system


At present the combustion quality and the adjustment of air to fuel
ratio is done based on the experience gained by the control engineer. The
colour of the combustion flames depends on the calorific value of the lignite
(fuel) used for firing. The colour of the flame images in turn indicates the
amount of air to be supplied so as to ensure complete combustion. When
combustion process is incomplete the colour of the furnace flame is blackish
due to the presence of unburnt carbon content. Offline analysis of the flame
images with its corresponding flue gas emissions and combustion quality
using indigenous image processing and intelligent algorithms has motivated
this research work. The information obtained from the colour of the flame
images can be used for online monitoring which can be achieved by
integrating these results with the Distributed Control Systems (DCS) for
optimization of flue gas emissions at the furnace level.

72

3.17

FLAME MONITORING
Monitoring the status of a flame is not easy. The detector must be

able to discriminate between the flame that it is meant to observe and any
other in the vicinity, and between that flame and the hot surfaces within the
furnace. The detector must also be able to provide reliable detection in the
presence of the smoke and steam that may be swirling around the flame. To
add to the problems, the detector will be required to operate in the hot and
dirty environment of the burner front, and it will be subjected to additional
heat radiated from the furnace into which it is looking. The flame scanners of
a boiler are vital to the safety and protection of the plant. If insufficient
attention is paid to their selection, or if they are badly installed or
commissioned, or if their maintenance is neglected, the results can be, at best,
annoying. The problems will include nuisance trips, protracted start up of the
boiler and the creation of hazardous conditions that could have serious safety
implications.
A flame scanner is a complex optoelectronic assembly, and modern
scanners incorporate sophisticated technologies to improve flame recognition
and discrimination as discussed by Wang Huajian et al (2006). Although the
electronics assembly will be designed to operate at a high temperature, unless
great care is taken this value could easily be exceeded and it is therefore
important to take all possible precautions to reduce heat conduction and
radiation onto the electronic components. The illustration shows how a heat
insulating nipple is used to prevent undue heat being conducted from the
boiler structure to the electronics enclosure. It also shows two purge air
connections that are provided between the electronics enclosure and the
swivel mount. Either of these connections may be used, the other being
blanked off. This flame monitoring system determines the presence or
absence of the flame in the combustion chamber.

73

3.17.1

Flame Spectra
The spectrum of radiation from a flame is determined by many

factors, including the type of fuel being burned and the design of the burner.
The intensity of the flame tends to be low for gas and high for coal and oil.
The flame will also flicker and, in general, low NOx burners will demonstrate
a lower flicker frequency than gun type burners. Wang et al (2002) stated that
oil and coal flames tend to produce a higher degree of infrared radiation,
whereas a gas flame is rich in ultraviolet radiation. Radiation in the visible
part of the spectrum will also depend on these factors, but these days the
tendency is to use detectors whose response is biased towards either the
infrared or the ultraviolet end of the spectrum, since emissions in these ranges
provide better indication of a flame than visible radiation, which can be
plentiful and misleading. Each type of fuel also produces byproducts of
combustion, which affect the transparency of the flame and therefore the
blanking effect it has on adjacent flames or on any flames on the opposite side
of the furnace. Deguchil et al (2005) stated that the oil and coal flames tend to
obscure infrared radiation, while gas flames produce water vapour which
obscures ultraviolet radiation.
The manufacturer's advice on the type of flame scanner to use in
various applications varies with respect to the type of the firing system used.
From the look up Table 3.5 it is observed that for corner fired (tangential
system) system with oil for initial firing and coal for continuing the firing
process infrared camera is preferred with cooling arrangement to monitor the
flame status. In certain circumstances a given type of flame scanner will
provide better or worse performance than would appear to be indicated from
the table. Reputable manufacturers will be pleased to provide application
specific guidance. At the design stage this advice will be based on previous

74

experience of similar installations. For a retrofit on an existing plant, the


manufacturer should be asked to carry out a comprehensive site survey, using
various types of scanner, while the burners are started, operated under various
loads, and stopped. Several tests may be required, and a survey may last for
several days.
Table 3.5 Flame scanner application guide

Boiler type

Fuel type

Discrimination capability
Infrared

Ultraviolet

Front-fired

Gas
Oil
Coal
Gas/oil
Gas/coal
Oil/coal
Coal/oil/gas

M
H
H
M
M
H
M

H
H
H
H
H
H
H

Corner-fired or
tangentially fired

Gas
Oil
Coal
Gas/oil
Gas/coal
Oil/coal
Coal/oil/gas

L
H
H
L
L
H
L

H
H
H
H
H
H
H

Opposed-fired

Gas
Oil
Coal
Gas/oil
Gas/coal
Oil/coal
Coal/oil/gas

L
M
M
L
L
L
L

H
M
M
M
M
M
M

H = high, M = medium, L = low

75

3.18

TYPICAL DCS ARRANGEMENT


DCS stands for 'distributed control system' as mentioned earlier.

The term 'distributed' means that several processors are operating together.
This is usually achieved by dedicating tasks to different machines. It does not
necessarily mean that the separate computers are physically located
in different areas of the plant. The typical DCS display is shown in
Figure 3.14(a) and (b). The following notes relate to individual parts of that
system. In practice each manufacturer will usually offer some variant of the
system shown in this diagram and the relevant description should be
consulted, but the comments made here are general ones which may help to
identify the points which should be considered and discussed when a new or
refurbished system is being considered. The central cabinet system houses the
processor which offers the necessary control action as shown in Figure 3.15.

Figure 3.14 (a) DCS display for control in a boiler (courtesy, NLC)

76

Figure 3.14 (b) DCS display for Air Master Control (courtesy, NLC)
The combustion air master control is designed to maintain the air
flow in its proper relationship with fuel for good combustion conditions. A
high selecting logic compares the boiler firing rate demand signal, generated
by unit coordinator logic multiplied by the output signal of O2 controller in
order to weigh the right amount of combustion air, to the total fuel (coal plus
oil) flow signal; the highest of them compared via a high selecting logic, to a
fixed value to provide a minimum combustion air flow capability by
preventing the air flow set point from being reduced below 25% of full range
(25% is minimum air flow as per NFPA code) becomes the set point of the air
master controller; the result is that actual fuels flow sets the minimum air flow

77

demand. The output signal of the air master control station (i.e. combustion
excess air demand) corrects the set point of each secondary plus tertiary air
flow control; if all of them are in manual mode, the air master is forced to
manual too.
The boiler control includes the drum level control, drum pressure,
temperature and furnace flame temperature. Apart from these controls the
control of the coal mills, air master control to the coal mills, oil control for
initial firing, atomizing steam pressure control and excess oxygen control.
The above mentioned controls are also integrated with DCS for online
monitoring. Figure 3.16 shows the typical arrangement of the instrumentation
and electrical systems in a DCS.

Figure 3.15 A Typical DCS configuration

78

Figure 3.16 Typical integration of DCS with instrumentation and


electrical systems
Thus an elaborate overview of the existing set up at NLC for boiler
control, air/fuel ratio control, flue gas emissions control and combustion
control are discussed in this chapter. The technology behind the existing
flame monitoring at NLC, TPS, expansion I and its functionality is also
briefed in this chapter. The overview of the existing set up has enabled to
develop an economical intelligent scheme which can be integrated with the
DCS for the automation of the power plant.