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Steaming ahead with SFD in Power and Recovery Boilers

Paper Mill Steam

ITM SFD technology helps energy producers generate power more efficiently by detecting energy sapping soot buildup in power and recovery boilers 

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the pulp and paper industry is the 3rd largest consumer of energy in U.S. manufacturing. A great deal of that energy is expended to generate massive amounts of steam inside about 200 black liquor recovery boilers spread around North America. That steam then powers generators that produce electricity to operate the mills. 

Imagine the energy savings if enhancements inside those recovery boilers could conserve 5% of all that steam. Not only would this advance in boiler efficiency carry an enormous environmental impact — potentially trillions of BTUs — the value of that steam savings would equal more than a million dollars a year at every plant where it is adopted.  

Figures like these help explain why Tim Carlier has spent years refining the novel idea he calls the Sootblower Fouling Detection System or SFD. SFD is his patented technology for measuring fouling/slagging as well as sootblower performance and reliability in recovery, biomass and utility boilers.  

In a typical boiler, fuel is burned inside the furnace, creating hot gas which heats water in the steam-generating tubes. In the case where the fuel is biomass, the flue gas often contains a significant amount of carry-over, which collects on the boiler tubes causing buildup. This buildup, also known as fouling, decreases the efficiency of the heat being transferred to generate steam while also increasing the risk of plugging the boiler and taking it offline altogether. 

For decades, these industries have relied on sootblowers — long rotating lances that are inserted through the superheater and other steam-generating tubes during combustion — to blow off soot and dislodge the masses of ash deposits that form around steam-generating tubes. Rather than running sootblowing systems “blind,” the SFD System removes guesswork by pinpointing exactly when and where sootblowing is required.

Sootblower

The system relies on a series of sensors on the sootblowers as well as at key locations on the boiler system that allow it to measure the energy transfer to indicate how much buildup is present so that sootblowing is only applied when needed. The feedback mechanisms can inform the plant operator not just where to run sootblowers, but also if sootblowers are leaking steam or malfunctioning in other ways. 

“This technology could have a huge environmental effect,” says Carlier, president and founder of Integrated Test and Measurement, the Milford, Ohio, engineering service and software company. “You are getting that much more efficiency out of your boiler, so not only are you saving money because you are not wasting steam, but you are not having to burn as much fuel to generate as much electricity.” 

He estimates that recovery boilers at most pulp and paper mills generate between $20 million and $40 million a year in steam depending on their Maximum Continuous Rating (MCR), and roughly 10% of the steam goes toward soot blowing operations. Carlier estimates that SFD could enable operators to decrease their sootblowing between 25% and 50% leading to a savings between $500,000 and $2 million dollars a year.

In addition to the significant steam savings, SFD will also greatly enhance the reliability of sootblowing operations by answering crucial questions for operatorsWhat’s the condition of the sootblower motor and gearbox? Is the poppet valve stuck open, stuck closed, and leaking, or is it operating correctly? Is the track damaged? Is the sootblower lance bent? Is the sootblower stuck in the boiler? What condition is the sootblower packing? Are there any steam leaks on or near the sootblower? Keeping informed on these important questions ultimately helps avoid costly downtime and even schedule crucial maintenance. 

On its own, the removal of sootblowing guesswork will generate a quick return on investment, Carlier says. When all is said and done, power generation facilities can expect to see a return on investment from the SFD System in approximately six months to a year. 

For more information about Sootblower Fouling Detection Systems or ITM’s other industrial boiler monitoring solutions, contact Ryan Welker via email: ryan.welker@itestsystem.com or phone: (844) 837-8797 x 702

Sootblower Fouling Detection System

Proprietary Technology from ITM provides boiler operators with insight into boiler and sootblowing efficiency.

Analyzing Vibration to Evaluate Sootblower Performance

ITM stake holders, we have recently received good news from the US Patent Office. They have recently allowed claims relating to the use of vibration measuring devices to evaluate the operation of a sootblower (US20190041201A1). This allowance strengthens the protection of the sootblower health and fouling detection features of ITM’s Sootblower Fouling Detection (SFD) Technology.

Additional Claims: “A method of evaluating an operation of a sootblower in a boiler system, the method comprising: operating a sootblower having a rotating lance tube; measuring a vibration in the boiler system caused by the operation of the sootblower, wherein the vibration is measured with a vibration measuring device; and analyzing the measured vibration to evaluate the operation of the sootblower.”

US Patent #: US20190041201A1

For more information about ITM’s SFD Technology or other Boiler Monitoring Systems, contact Ryan Welker @ (844) 837-8797 x702

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Sootblower Fouling Detection (SFD) presented at BLRBAC Spring 2019

We would like to thank the Black Liquor Recovery Boiler Advisory Committee (BLRBAC) for allowing us to present our patented Sootblower Fouling Detection (SFD) technology at the Spring 2019 meeting in Atlanta, GA.  SFD is ITM’s patented technology for measuring fouling/slagging along the path of an active sootblower in recovery and utility boilers.

During this presentation, Tim Carlier described the original SFD concept, the system’s Key Performance Indicator (KPI) outputs for closed or open loop control, and the system’s potential sootblower steam savings of 1-4% MCR.  He also highlighted the safety and maintenance benefits that the system provides.

For more information about the SFD technology or to schedule an online presentation or site visit to audit your specific application, contact Tim Carlier or Ryan Welker.

Contact Info:

Tim Carlier, President, tim.carlier@itestsystem.com, 513.608.4811

Ryan Welker, Business Development Manager, ryan.welker@itestsystem.com,  513.405.0181

Boiler Monitoring Technologies at BLRBAC Spring 2019 Meeting

Integrated Test & Measurement (ITM) is presenting its patented Sootblower Fouling Detection (SFD) technology at the Spring 2019 Black Liquor Recovery Boiler Advisory Committee (BLRBAC) meeting in Atlanta, GA on Wednesday, April 10, 2019.

ITM’s SFD system effectively offers the following benefits to boiler operations:

  • Optimizes sootblowing to reduce boiler fouling
  • Reduces sootblower steam consumption
  • Detects sootblower mechanical faults
  • Identifies dangerous conditions around packing leaks

Find out more about ITM’s Sootblower Fouling Detection (SFD) system and other Boiler Monitoring Solutions at https://itestsystem.com/industrial-monitoring/

Conference details can be found at http://blrbac.org/meeting-registration

Have questions? Contact Tim Carlier @ Tim.Carlier@iTestSystem.com

Cincinnati Business Courier 2018 Innovation Award Finalist

On April 19th ITM was recognized as a finalist for the Cincinnati Business Courier Outstanding Green Innovation award.  This award recognizes an innovative product or project with clear potential to transform overall energy and environmental performance.  ITM’s President Tim Carlier was on hand to receive the finalist award on behalf of the development team that produced the innovative Sootblower Fouling Detection (SFD) technology.

ITM’s SFD technology helps energy producers generate power more efficiently by detecting energy sapping soot buildup in power and recovery boilers.  More information about this technology is located @ iTestSystem.com/sfd.

Congratulations to all the winners and finalists and thank you to the Cincinnati Business Courier for hosting this event.

Increase the IQ of Your Intelligent Sootblowing in Power Magazine

Check out the article “Increase the IQ of Your Intelligent Sootblowing” by my colleague Mark Yeager in the December edition of Power Magazine.  In this article, Mark describes ITM’s Sootblower Fouling Detection (SFD) technology which allows for targeted sootblowing, by pinpointing exactly when and where sootblowing is required in chemical recovery and coal-fired power boilers.

https://www.powermag.com/increase-the-iq-of-your-intelligent-sootblowing

Save steam costs with new ITM technology – SFD

With steam costs reaching an estimated $5,600 a day — or roughly $2 million a year — for sootblowing operations in a single boiler, imagine the savings plant operators could achieve by optimizing sootblowing.

Sootblower Fouling Detection (SFD) is a new ITM technology for identifying when and where to clean boiler steam tubes.  Learn more about SFD by watching this video.