You are on page 1of 60

Traditional Fuel Firing systems

CFBC Boiler and Types

Advantages of CFBC boiler
Environmental friendliness of CFBC
NOx Control
SOx Control
Potential Failure problems and Prevention.
The Traditional modes of burning solid fuels like
coal or lignite are
Suspension Mode
Mass burning (MB) and traveling
grate (TG) stokers burn solid fuel in
static mode with the fuel resting on
a grate.
Most Traditional power plants use
pulverized fuel (PF) firing which
burns the fuel in suspension mode in
transport condition.
Between these two extremes of
burning, as static and suspension
modes, the intermittent one is the
fluidized mode.
PF firing Technology has a long history, the roots way back to 200 years, when it is
started with Cement industry and next by steel industry. Then Finds its way to
power generation.
PF firing technology shifted the Power generation from 15 MW to as high as 1300
MW in early 1970.
When a solid fuel such as coal is reduced to the consistency of talcum powder and
fired in an open furnace, the resulting combustion is almost equal to oil or gas
controllability, and
Heat release.

A coal particle burns out between 1 and 2 s, depending on its volatile content,
similar to oil, and the combustion is most complete at >99% carbon burn up.
For high-volatile matter (VM) coals and lignites, the combustion efficiency can be
as high as 99.7%.
The limitations relate to the inability of PF to
Deal with variation in fuel without risking
fouling and slagging of boilers
Provide multi-fuel firing
Fire fuels with >40% total moisture unless
there is enough VM such as in brown coals
Burn very low-volatile fuels such as petcoke
Combustion is very poor in fuels with
Gross calorific value (GCV) <2000 kcal/kg
A burden >65% (ash and H2O)
Very high S

Have step less load turndown of more than

70 to 100%
PF firing has been the preferred
method for solid fuel firing in large
quantities for utilities since last 8
However, in the last few years,

circulating fluidized bed combustion

(CFBC) boilers have begun to disturb
this equilibrium by offering reliable
solutions in the areas not served well
by PF firing.
The limitations of PF boilers were
recognized decades ago. In the
absence of a better alternative, they
have been accepted.
Principles of Operation
Types of FBC
Advantages and
With the advent of the CFBC technology, remedial measures
have since been found to some extent for the limitations of
PF boilers. Circulating fluidized bed combustion boilers
Can address all the above issues with PF firing
Are nearly as efficient for conventional fuels
Are more operator friendly, with very few moving parts and
Have lower O&M costs if erosion issues are not encountered
Offer better environmental friendliness and ensure against
emerging requirements
Present little danger of explosion
Traditional methods of firing failed to
address the emerging emission norms
early and late 70s in a cheaper way and
addressed these with a secondary gas
cleaning system
The more and more stringent pollution
limits, pushed the cost of secondary gas
cleaning system to a new height.
FGR Flue Gas recirculation or
SCR Selective Catalytic reduction for
FGD Flue Gas De-Sulphurisation for
Pollution limits of SOx and NOx Played a
vital role in a new way of combustion.
A cleaner and cooler combustion was
the only way to meet strict levels of SOx
and NOx.
Fluidized bed combustion (FBC) is
burning of various solid fuels in the
fluidized statea condition where a gas-
solid mixture behaves like a free-flowing

With the right proportioning of air

pressure and the proper sizing of fuel,
the air-solid mixture behaves like a fluid.
The fluid bed experiences progressively
more turbulence, as air velocity is

FBC is the combustion in this state

bubbling FBC (BFBC) at the lower end
and circulating FBC (CFBC) at the higher
Based on the fluidized region of operation, the FBC
boilers emerged in following types
BFBC or AFBC Bubbling/Atmospheric Fluidized bed combustion
CFBC Circulating fluidized bed combustion boilers
PFBC Pressurized Fluidized bed combustion boilers

In the 1980s and early 1990s, both technologies were

developed simultaneously, BFBC boilers in the United
States and CFBC boilers in Europe. Both shared the
fluidization principle. As the contours and the limits of
the technologies grew sharper, it became clearer that
they were more complementary than competing.
The classical CFBC Boiler operates at the higher end of the fluidized bed regime,
just lower than the transport phase. It includes a fluid bed expanded all the way to
the roof of the combustor instead of restricting the bed to the lower part as in a
BFBC boiler.
In the Classic 3 Ts of perfect
Temperature Time Turbulence
PF fired boilers makes the
combustion more efficient by
keeping all the 3 Ts in optimized
With resident time of 1-2 seconds,
more turbulence and very high Temperature
temperature burning causes the
combustion more effective.
As the FBC operates lower temperature range, from 800C to
950C., where as the PF fired boilers operates more than
1200 to 1500 c.
The Negative effect of the lower temperature of FBC range of
boilers in Combustion (3 Ts) has been over come by
increasing the other 2 Ts, Turbulence and resident time.
The Combustion efficiency in fact increased drastically
because of high turbulence in the bed and longer residence
time, despite being operated in lower combustion
High fan power for fluidization reduces net output per unit
fuel by 1% compared to PF, if deNOx and deSOx units are not
large enough or are absent.
Tube and refractory erosion issues are not fully resolved in
CFBC Boilers.
Single unit sizes of 1000 MWe and above are proven in PF,
whereas in CFBC, units >300 MWe are still under initial
Developed in 1970s and commercialized in 1980s in Europe
Pulverized fuel boiler supremacy has been challenged
seriously after its reign of more than half a century by the
CFBC boiler.
CFBC boilers replaced PF fired boilers literally under 100
MW category.
Besides the expensive hot cyclone, the second-generation designs such as
cold cyclone, compact, and U-beam are available in industrial range.
For large utility boilers, full circulation types give a more compact
arrangement. The expanded bed designs can also meet the utility boiler
Present-day designs can be broadly categorized as follows:
1. Full circulation
A. Hot cyclone design
B. Compact design
2. Expanded bed
A. Cold cyclone design
B. U-beam/no-cyclone design
Classic CFBC boiler PF fired Boiler
CFBC boilers are gaining widespread use at least in the sub-
100 MW sizes, due to
Fuel flexibility-Capability to burn almost any fuel
Excellent multi-fuel flexibility
High combustion efficiency
Environmental friendliness
In situ and very convenient desulfurization
Very low NOx generation
Low O&M costs
No slagging and fouling of tubes
Good to excellent load response
Simpler ash handling
One of the major advantages of a CFBC boiler is its fuel flexibility, ability to operate
in vast range of fuels. The Fig. shows the fuel range in which the CFBC can operate.
Evaporation (TPH)
100 200 300 400 500 600 1800

Heat Release (MW/H)

DeNOx and DeSOx
De-nitrification and De-Sulfurization
In FBC boilers operating at ~850C, there is an inherent
lower production of NOx auto-matically, as the combustion
temperature is low.
Even In PF boilers, Flame temperature reduction from
1480-1500 to 1250 C will impact NOx generation by 10
These boilers also offer a very convenient way of reducing
the SOx emission within the furnace enclosure by the
reaction with lime stone
This desulfurization is adopted only for coals and other
solid fuels with medium to high sulphur.
CFBC Boilers keeps an Upper hand on environmental
friendliness with cheaper way of DeNOx and DeSOx
Nox Formation
NOx Types
De-Nitrification - DeNOx
During Combustion in Furnace, At elevated temperatures, oxygen
combines with nitrogen to form nitrogen oxides and other complex
compounds collectively called NOx.
Nitrogen oxides are of environmental concern because they initiate
reactions that result in the formation of ozone and acid rain, which can
cause health problems, damage buildings, and reduce visibility.
NO reacts to form NO2, which reacts with other pollutants to form
ozone (O3).
Three Kinds of NOx formed during Fuel Combustion
Fuel NOx
Prompt NOx
Thermal NOx
Nitrogen is present in fuel and combustion air.
Fuel NOx forms when Nitrogen in fuel reacts with oxygen in combustion air.
These fuel bound Nitrogen accounts for 50% of total NOx emission from coal and oil

Prompt NOx results when fuel hydrocarbons break down and recombine with
nitrogen in air (this reaction generally takes place before the flame tip).
Accounts for 15-20% of total NOx Emission.

Thermal NOx forms when Nitrogen in air reacts with Oxygen along with intense
heat. These kind of Nox Rate of formation increases,
Exponentially with Temperature

And Directly Proportional to Oxygen (O2) concentration.

Much higher temperatures of >1200C (2200F) are needed to
Form Thermal NOx, which are fortunately not feasible for FBC.
As all the FBC boilers generally operates at 800 C to 950C.

In PF fired boilers which operates in this temperature Range the

NOx emission will be generally higher than CFBC due to higher
combustion Temperature.

Thermal NOx <2000 mg/NM3with Normal burners

NOx 600 mg/Nm3 with low NOx burners

Low NOx is achieved in PF boilers with Low NOx burners with

lower flame temperature and better air staging
Fuel NOx is formed in FBC boilers also as equal to PF, the
analysis results data says that, almost all the nitrogen in fuel
may be converted to NOx.
For 1% of Nitrogen in the fuel, the possible potential NOx
emission will be approximately 3800 Mg/Nm3.
This Fuel NOx then, Largely reduced to Elemental Nitrogen
again by the Presence of the strong reducing agents in the
form of
Char (C Carbon) and
CO (Carbon Monoxide) in the bed
In CFBC boilers the combustion happens in two stages,

The primary Combustion in Furnace bed with primary air and secondary
combustion in free board area with Secondary and Tertiary air.

55 to 60 % in Furnace Bed Primary Combustion

40 to 45 % in Free board area - Secondary Combustion

Due to this staged combustion, the furnace bed will be in Sub-

Stoichiometric conditions, this will increase the active Carbon (char) and
Carbon Monoxide (CO) in furnace bed.

The Final resulting NOx emission in CFBC will be almost 50% that formed
in BFBC boilers.
In CFBC boilers, PA forms only
50 to 60% of total air required
for combustion. Remaining part
of air is taken care by SA
Figure, captures the effect of
Secondary Air on the NOX
Higher the SA air %, lower the
Nox emission.
NOX emissions effort-lessly stay
at <200 mg/N m3 on 6% O2
when 30% or more SA is given.

Secondary air %
Limestone Requirement
In-bed desulfurization is a breakthrough in CFBC boilers.
Lime stone-sulphur as SO2 reaction within the furnace bed,
along with the combustion reaction and the resultant gypsum
exit with ash is simplification personified.
A good understanding of the mechanics of this reaction and
the limitations is very necessary for ensuring realistic emission
of Sox.
It also helps to correctly set up the limestone and ash handling
systems that meet the present and future requirements.
5 to 6 % Sulphur in fuel (typically pet coke) can lead to 10000
mg/NM3 of SOx in exit flue gas.
Sulphur Capturing in CFBC has been done by adding
Limestone (CaCO3) or dolomite (MgCO3) along with
bed material as sulphur absorbent.

The absorbent dosed along with fuel.

The Capturing process is done in two different

reactions, the reactions are

The Limestone (Calcium Carbonate CaCO3) added into the
furnace along with fuel decomposes as Calcium oxide (CaO) is
called Calcination. The Reaction is,

CaCO3 CaO + CO2

During this Process of Calcination Limestone generates 44% of

Carbon dioxide (CO2).
100 Kg of Pure Limestone will decomposes and gives
56 Kg calcium oxide and
44 kg Carbon dioxide.
In case of Dolomite addition, it decomposes as
Magnesium Oxide and emits Carbon dioxide.

MgCO3 MgO + CO2

During this process 84 kg of pure dolomite

decomposes as,
40kg of Magnesium oxide and
Emits 44 kg of Carbon Di Oxide
During Combustion, the Sulphur in fuel reacts with
Oxygen in combustion air and gives SO2 (sulphur

32 Kg of Sulphur Reacts with 32 kg of Oxygen and gives

64kg of SO2.
Each Kg of sulphur in fuel will give 2 kg of Sulphur
The sulfation reaction is the reaction of solid CaO with gaseous SO2 in the
presence of oxygen (O2). The sulfation reaction is normally referred to as the
reaction which yields solid CaSO4 as the final product

56 Kg of Calcium oxide Reacts with

64 kg of SO2 along with 16 Kg of Oxygen and
gives 136 Kg of Calcium Sulphate CaSO4.
This By product of CaSO4 is also called as dry Gypsum.
The Theoretical requirement of
Lime vs sulphur is 1 mol of Ca per
1 mol of Sulphur (Ca/S ratio is 1)
in molar units.
The trend shows the DeSox
efficiency vs the molar ratio. At
2% molar ratio the SOx capturing
efficiency is >95%.
In Mass fractions, 1 kg of suphur
requires 1.25 kg (40/32 kg) of
Calcium (Ca). Ca/S Molar Ratio

In terms of CaO or calcium oxide the mass requirement is 1.75 (56/32) kg

CaO/kg of Sulphur.
As, the availability is in Limestone as CaCO3, the mass requirement of
Limestone is equal to 3.125 Kg / kg of Sulphur (100/32).
So, every 1% of sulphur in Fuel requires 3.125% of pure Limestone.
Both sulfation and calcination
reactions start at ~700C
(1300F) and are optimum at
Bed temperature vs DeSOx
efficiency trend shows that, the
Limestone Consumption is
lowest at this temperature range.
At the Ca/S molar ratio of 4 or 3
the DeSOx efficiency is >95%.

Bed Temperature C
The sulfation takes place on the surface of the lime particle in the bed and so
the core of the particle fails to participate.
Some sulfur in fuel, which is inorganically bound, does not oxidize to SO2.
Some SO2 escapes when sorbent is less or accompanies the volatile matter
(VM) of fuel.
Available Limestone purity is lower than optimumtypically 92%.
Maintaining the bed temperature around 800-900 C is important for de-
sulphurisation because
Calcination is not complete at Temperature <800 C
Sulfation reaction falls off rapidly beyond 850C because CaSO4 formed on the
sur-face of CaO melts due to high temperature and forms a coating on CaO, and
isolates that for further reaction.
Within the residence time SO2 gas molecules do not encounter reactive solid
CaO particles despite high bed turbulence.
Bed Temperature
Particle Resident Time
Bed Quality
Gaseous Environment (O2%)
Furnace Pressure
Chemical Composition (purity of limestone)
Porosity of Limestone
Surface area
Particle Size
The Calcination process of Limestone is an Endothermic reaction. As shown in the
figure below, each kg of CaCO3 will consume 1783 kJ/kg heat from furnace.


Calcium Carbonate +1783 KJ/kg Calcium Oxide Carbon DiOxide

The Sulphation process of CaSO4 formation is an Exothermic reaction in which

during the reaction like combustion this process will yield 8974.8 kJ/kg of heat per
kg of Calcium Oxide.

CaO SO2 O2 CaSO4

Calcium Oxide Sulphur Dioxide Oxygen -8974.8 KJ/kg Calcium Sulphat

So Each Kg of CaCO3 gives 3243 kJ/kg of Heat energy as final result.

This is an UnTapped advantage of In Bed Sulphur Capturing
The calcination and sulfation reactions in the bed, which are endo
thermic and exothermic, respectively, alter the heat marginally.
With a Ca/S ratio >2, there is a net loss,
whereas at <2, there is a net gain in heat.
Sensible heat loss. With coals having high ash and employing
desulfurization, the bed ash discharge at 850C can represent
loss as high as 5%. As the bed ash formed will be 20-25% of total
Fan credits. Forced draft (FD)/primary air (PA) fans consume a lot of
power in fluidizing the combustion air.
The churning of air in the fan casing to produce such a high
pressure heats the air, the power for which is provided by the fan.
Cyclone radiation loss. Radiation loss taken from the standard
American Boiler Manufacturers Association (ABMA) chart does not
account for the losses of cyclones.
The CaO formed during De-sulphurisation process is equal of cement
and excess limestone dosing can solidify in bed during shutdown and
leakage conditions.
It also can block bed ash drain pipes after getting cooled.
Limestone Dosing in bed increases the Nox emission.
If the fuel has higher moisture which can condense in the APH and
allow the CaO to settle and solidify. Which can reduce the heat
transfer performance of APH.
Tube Leakage in first pass can make the bed as cemented concrete
due to the CaO content.
Failure Potentials in CFBC boilers
Furnace Explosions
PA duct explosions
HGG explosions
A few CFBC Boilers have suffered furnace explosion
in the past.
As regards CFBC boilers, these are comparatively
newer generation of technology and explosion
avoidance measures are not clearly understood by
the operating engineers.
There are three necessary elements
which must occur simultaneously to
cause a fire:
Fuel Fuel
Heat and Fire

These elements form the three legs of
the fire triangle. Ignition source

By removing any one of these elements, a fire becomes impossible.

For example,
if there were very little or no oxygen present, a fire could not occur regardless of
the quantities of fuel and heat that were present.
Likewise, if insufficient heat were available, no concentrations of fuel and oxygen
could result in a fire.
For an explosion to occur, In any
case, there are five necessary
elements which must occur Fuel Confinement

Fuel Explosion



These form the five sides of the explosion pentagon. Like the fire
triangle, removing any one of these requirements would prevent an
explosion from Confinement propagating.
For example,
if fuel, heat, oxygen, and confinement occurred together in proper
quantities, an explosion would still not be possible without the suspension
of the fuel.
However, in the above case, a fire could occur and the explosion will not
be possible.
If the burning fuel were then placed in suspension by a sudden blast of air,
water or steam, all five sides of the explosion pentagon would be satisfied
and an explosion would be imminent.
This is where, the CFBC boiler is prone to failure in some critical cases
Furnace explosions in CFBC boilers are rare when both bed and free board
temperatures are above 760 C. Chances of explosions are very high when
these temperatures are below 540 C.
Though not fully established, yet chances of explosions cannot be ruled out
when bed temperature remains between 540 C and 760 C.
All Fluidized bed boilers are exposed to this risk of explosion when they are
stopped/tripped on loaded condition.
The explosions mostly occur in CFBC when
Boiler is restarted after a trip out.
Boiler is restarted after a short period of Hot stoppage
Fast cooling of boiler is resorted to following a tube leakage especially when the
leaking water falls on the bed
The risk is very high when the leakage water wet the bed partially one sided and
other side of the bed is very hot.
During hot stoppage/tripped condition
It has good amount of fuel along with hot bed.
A Typical 100 TPH boiler will have 40 to 50 MT of hot bed material with ~5% of coal
at 850C and Confined in the furnace.
It meets the 3 legs of explosion pentagon,
Heat above 850 C
Fuel Sufficient enough

Such cases when ever the system gets other 2 legs of explosion pentagon Fuel
Suspension (instant) and Oxygen, it explodes immediately.
There is a possibility of these to happen when the boiler is restarted after hot
stoppage with any abnormality likes of tube leakage.
There are cases where, the PA duct has been exploded during a boiler start up.
When ever there is trip out on CFBC boiler,
The total fluidizing bed comes to static condition.
During this, the PA/FD air passed thru PA nozzle and entered into the fluidized
zone will be pushed back thru the same nozzle to wind box due to the heavy
weight of bed material.
These phenomenon causes the combustion air with high temperature rushes to
wind box taking along some amount of fine fuel with CO as the burning process
is not complete.
These un burnt ready to fire fuel (CO and Char) will cause more CO formation in
the wind box and remain in the PA duct.

When ever the boiler is started after the trip, PA duct will get good amount
of Oxygen as fresh air.
Our Analysis after every hot tripping says that, the O2% in PA duct and wind
box will go down as low as to 12% during hot trip which directly indicates that,
there is some amount other gases formation during tripping expected to be
Carbon monoxide.
This will close all the legs of the Explosion pentagon
Confined (PA duct enclosed in all direction)
Suspended fuel (CO)

With PA/FD has been started, the Wind box is exposed to high heat of bed
material will cause a explosion.
This is mainly applicable for Under bed burners or Hot gas generators
of cold cyclone boilers.

HGG explosion occurs due to consecutive start up failures of HGG in

Flame failure condition.
This start up failure on flame failure will lead to a accumulation of
sprayed Liquid fuel in HGG, when the fire catches the accumulated fuel
causes a explosion.

Fuel shut off valve passing also causes HGG explosion. The failed valves
can allow the HSD to pass thru and get dumped in the HGG chamber.
When the actual firing starts this accumulated fuel get exploded.
Fuel should never be fed into the furnace continuously for more than 12
seconds when there is no fire.

Furnace is completely purged of the explosive mixture and then fired.

Fuel supply is stopped immediately if fire/flame is not established and re-

purging is surely done before restart.

Correct air fuel ratio is maintained so that dust concentration within

explosive limits is never achieved.

Do not start PA/FD fan once the boiler is stopped due to tube leakage.

Continue to run ID and SA fans. Once the SA fan is tripped do not restart
during leakage condition. It can give required Oxygen to the gases formed in
bed due to water injection which leads to an Furnace explosion.
Provide a vent in PA duct for venting out the CO formed during Sudden tripping of

Interlocking with an O2 analyser will further reduce the potential PA duct explosion.

Dont start the Under bed burners or HGGs without sufficient purging of furnace.

Continuous tripping of HGG on Flame failure during start up can lead to explosion.

Avoid restarting of HGG before ensuring that the HSD/Fuel sprayed inside HGG
chamber without burning is totally drained out or purged out.

Isolate fuel from HGG immediately after burner cut off.

Always take oil burner support when ever the bed temperature drops down below