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Product Abstract

Intelligent Sootblowing Demonstration at Texas Glenco's W.A. Parish Plant

Product ID:1004113
Date Published:09-Dec-2003
Sector Name:Generation
Document Type:Technical Results
Price:No Charge

This Product is publicly available

   1.88 MB - Adobe PDF (.pdf)

Intelligent sootblowing (ISB) optimizes the cleaning of the walls and convection passes of fossil-fired power plants to maintain high heat transfer while keeping steam temperatures and pressures as constant as possible and minimizing erosion or corrosion of tubes. This document is the second in a series of interim reports on the five-year ISB system test and demonstration project at Texas Genco's W.A. Parish plant. It summarizes ISB performance test results, outage inspection findings, and potential enhancements to the ISB systems at Parish.


Sootblowing involves the removal of combustion by-product deposits with high-velocity jets of air, steam, or water. However, there are performance penalties associated with sootblowing. The blowing medium is a direct plant cost, and overusing sootblowers can also cause tube erosion and excessive thermal stresses. ISB systems operate in closed-loop mode, activating the sootblowers in the most strategic sequence without operator intervention. The control logic for sootblower sequencing is normally programmed into a programmable logic controller (PLC), which in turn is interfaced with a personal computer. The ISB system employs combinations of neural networks, expert systems, boiler modeling, and direct measurements using heat flux sensors and furnace exit gas temperature monitors to determine optimal sootblower control. In 1999, Reliant Energy established a project with EPRI to assess ISB needs at the W.A. Parish Plant. The project was expanded in 2000 to a multi-year demonstration project of ISB and related technologies on all four coal-fired units. The overall plant optimization initiative included water cannons, sonic horns, furnace exit gas temperature monitors, and related instrumentation. This document is the second annual interim report on the project. The first annual report was published as EPRI report 1004114.


To provide a status report on the Reliant five-year ISB test and demonstration project.


The project team designed a series of plant performance tests under various modes of sootblower operation and control. Some of these tests were conducted during 2001-02 on Unit 8. The results are documented in the 2002 interim report (EPRI report 1004114). The team conducted additional tests performed on Units 5, 7, and 8 over the 2002-03 period covered in this report. Unit 6 was not tested during this reporting period, but performance tests will be conducted on this unit in 2004.


Over the nine-month period of ISB performance tests in 2002 - 2003, results indicate that the ISB system has significantly reduced sootblowing operations without adversely affecting plant performance. With half of the planned performance testing completed, results show an approximately 80% reduction in both furnace-zone and convection-pass sootblower operation in Units 7 and 8. At the same time, operating parameters such as main and reheat steam temperatures remained consistent on these units. Outage inspections of Units 5 and 8 indicate that tube quench cracks have not substantially grown during the test period.

EPRI Perspective

In some cases, an entirely clean furnace is not necessarily desirable. It may be preferable to allow a section of the furnace to foul somewhat to compensate for operational needs elsewhere, such as combining nitrogen oxides control and steam temperature control in conjunction with burner tilts. Rather than relying on a schedule to activate sootblowers, a programmable ISB system will balance these factors to arrive at the optimal sootblowing regime. Related EPRI research includes "Guidelines for Intelligent Sootblowing Control" (EPRI report 1000410, December 2000), describing ISB demonstration projects at Tennessee Valley Authority's Bull Run and Reliant Energy's W.A. Parish plants. In addition, proceedings of the Fourth Intelligent Sootblowing Workshop (EPRI report 1004112), held in March 2000, are available on CD.

2003 Program 71   Combustion and Coal Quality Impacts
  • Emission Control
  • Optimization
  • Heat Transfer
  • Selective Catalytic Reduction
  • Deposits
  • Fossil Fuels

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