Boiler retrofit improves efficiency and increases biomass firing rates, TAPPI Journal March 2021



Application: This paper describes elements of a successful boiler retrofit project that has allowed a mill to achieve its energy consolidation goals for the power house, including the decommission of an aging power boiler. It offers a template of the various aspects for improving boiler operations and reducing energy generation costs that other facilities should consider as part of their goals.

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Author: Samit Pethe; Paul Cloinger; Ryan Shortreed and Ken Hardison
Boiler retrofit improves efficiency and increases biomass fi
ABSTRACT: Domtar’s fluff pulp mill in Plymouth, NC, USA, operates two biomass/hog fuel fired boilers (HFBs). For energy consolidation and reliability improvement, Domtar wanted to decommission the No. 1 HFB and refurbish/retrofit the No. 2 HFB. The No. 2 HFB was designed to burn pulverized coal and/or biomass on a traveling grate. The steaming capacity was 500,000 lb/h from coal and 400,000 lb/h from biomass. However, it had never sustained this design biomass steaming rate. As the sole power boiler, the No. 2 HFB would need to sustain 400,000 lb/h of biomass steam during peak loads. An extensive evaluation by a combustion and boiler technologies supplier was undertaken. The evaluation involved field testing, analysis, and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling, and it identified several bottle-necks and deficiencies to achieving the No. 2 HFB’s biomass steam goal. These bottlenecks included an inadequate combustion system; insufficient heat capture; excessive combustion air temperature; inadequate sweetwater con-denser (SWC) capacity; and limited induced draft fan capacity.To address the identified deficiencies, various upgrades were engineered and implemented. These upgrades included modern pneumatic fuel distributors; a modern sidewall, interlaced overfire air (OFA) system; a new, larger economizer; modified feedwater piping to increase SWC capacity; replacement of the scrubber with a dry electrostatic precipitator; and upgraded boiler controls.With the deployment of these upgrades, the No. 2 HFB achieved the targeted biomass steaming rate of 400,000 lb/h, along with lowered stack gas and combustion air temperatures. All mandated emissions limit tests at 500,000 lb/h of steam with 400,000 lb/h of biomass steam were passed, and Domtar reports a 10% reduction in fuel firing rates, which represents significant fuel savings. In addition, the mill was able to decommission the No. 1 HFB, which has substantially lowered operating and maintenance costs.
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