In recent years, volatile energy prices have become the norm in Europe and across the globe, with a number of factors triggering what the EU is calling an unprecedented energy crisis. Gas prices increased more than 170% in 2021, and more than 150% between July 2021 and 2022. Factors contributing to increased energy prices include extreme climate conditions, higher gas consumption in Asia, greater scarcity of nuclear and hydropower electricity, and disruptions as a result of the war in Ukraine and Russia’s decision to cut gas supply to several EU countries.
While higher demand and energy prices mean greater profitability for power plant operators, it also means more pressure on critical components such as the power boiler which, in turn, can lead to higher operating costs. By investing in solutions that increase the operational effectiveness of the power boiler and other infrastructure, power plant operators can cut down on costs while ensuring they keep up with performance demands.
The critical role of the power boiler
In power plants, the power boiler has a very important job. It turns fuel into the steam that drives the turbine so it can convert the steam into electrical power. There are different kinds of power boilers that can run on different types of fuel—ranging from fossil fuels like gas, oil, and coal to biomass from agriculture, industry, or municipal solid waste.
3 examples of power boilers
- Biomass boiler
- Coal-fired boiler
- Waste-to-energy boiler
Regardless of the type of power boiler being used, they all share the potential to be streamlined operationally. While system upgrades are sometimes needed they are not always necessary. Consistent actions related to power boiler maintenance and prevention also go a long way in improving overall operational efficiency and reliability.
Increase power boiler performance and save money with Infrasound and HISS™
When it comes to increasing the performance of power boilers, soot cleaning and fouling prevention really pay off. When soot accumulates on power boiler tubes, it prevents heat from transferring efficiently and leads to increased fuel consumption as a result. Another enemy of power boiler performance is fouling, where deposits accumulate on boiler surfaces and—just like soot—negatively impact heat transfer efficiency and drive up fuel consumption needs.
Here at Heat Management, our infrasound cleaning and HISS™ optimized steam soot blowing solutions have been proven to improve the efficiency and lifetime of power boilers significantly.
Infrasound cleaning utilizes a low-frequency sound wave to effectively address fouling, removing the accumulated deposits from power boiler surfaces. Our Infrafone cleaners have been proven to improve the profitability of power boilers as a result of more efficient soot cleaning, reducing or eliminating the need for traditional methods such as steam soot blowing and manual cleaning. At the same time, they allow a longer asset lifetime thanks to less wear and higher efficiency with reduced steam soot blowing by 50-75%. They also promote more stable operations due to more frequent and preventative power boiler cleaning.
HISS™ (High Impact Soot blowing System) removes soot deposits from power boiler surfaces—including soot in areas that are difficult to reach— through the use of high-pressure steam. With our patented HISS™ technology, several soot blowers can be operated simultaneously with or without return steam. HISS™ has been proven to halve steam consumption, increase the production of electricity, double soot blowing power, and allow for the use of cheaper fuel. Using HISS™ can increase soot blowing capacity by 100%– without necessitating the installation of new soot blowers or the consumption of more steam– and reduce steam consumption by 45% per soot blower.
50% steam savings using HISS™ one-way soot blowing
While analyzing operational data at Kraftvärmeverket Eskilstuna, we discovered long-term fouling of their superheaters during the operating season. The economizer and the Air preheater in the back pass of the power boiler, however, showed no signs. To enable more frequent soot blowing in the superheaters, and to keep those parts clean without requiring more steam, we installed HISS™. The same soot blowing rate was maintained for the economizer and air preheater using HISS™ but– thanks to the HISS™ one-way soot blowing– Kraftvärmeverket was able to save 50% steam.
Ready to invest in operational efficiency?
Whether energy prices are high or low, there are benefits to gain by investing in operational efficiency. To learn about the potential savings and revenue increases you can realize for your own power boiler, contact us below.