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Product Abstract

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

Product ID:1011330
Date Published:15-Dec-2004
Sector Name:Generation
Document Type:Technical Results
Price:No Charge

This Product is publicly available

   812.99 KB - 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 third in a series of interim reports on the five-year ISB system test and demonstration project at Texas Genco's W.A. Parish plant. Work in 2004 focused on quantifying cost savings associated with the long-term operation of ISB and identifying operational enhancements.


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.


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


For the 2004 interim report, the project team developed a framework for assessing the economic benefits of using ISB technology that divides benefits into four categories:
  • Extended boiler tube life and reduction of unplanned outages
  • Improved boiler efficiency and heat rate
  • Reduced equipment maintenance and operating costs
  • Improved operation

  • The team also evaluated sonic horn technology and performed tests to gauge the impact of previous enhancements to sootblowing systems at Parish.


    Use of ISB at Parish has resulted in an estimated annual savings of $28 million by extending boiler tube life and reducing unplanned outages in Units 6, 7, and 8. The analysis team also determined that savings from improved boiler efficiency and heat rate in Units 6 and 8 delivered a cost savings of about $900,000. Future interim reports will analyze reduced equipment and maintenance costs and the economic value of improved operations. Tests showed that sonic horns had no measurable effect on tube cleanliness. As a result, they have been taken out of service pending further discussion with the sonic horn vendor. Evaluation of previous enhancements to sootblowing systems at Parish showed several benefits, including the following:
  • Reduction in side-to-side temperature imbalances at Unit
  • Better steam temperature control at all units
  • Reduction of cleaning operations to about one-third of pre-ISB levels at all units
  • Reduction of economizer gas outlet temperature at all units

  • It is anticipated that the implementation of the Diamond Power HydroJets® on Units 5 and 6 will increase furnace cleaning coverage and enable improved control and reduction of furnace exit gas temperature, which should assist in upper furnace slag mitigation.

    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 NOx 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. In addition to the first two annual reports from the Parish demonstration (1004113 and 1004114), related EPRI research includes "Guidelines for Intelligent Sootblowing Control" (1000410), published in 2000; proceedings on CD of the Fourth (1004112) and Fifth (1008350) Intelligent Sootblowing Workshops, held in 2002 and 2004, respectively; and "Intelligent Sootblowing at TVA's Bull Run Plant" (1004115), released in 2003.
    2004 Program 71   Combustion and Coal Quality Impacts
    • Coal-Fired Boilers
    • Boiler Tubes
    • Programmable Controllers
    • Cleaning

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