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• What is circulation ratio ?

What is a boiler ?

As per Indian Boiler Act 1923, a boiler is a closed vessel with capacity exceeding
22.75 liters used for generating steam under pressure

Mass flow rate of circulating water to the rate of steam generation

Value 4 to 30 for natural circulation

Value 3 to 10 for forced circulation

For once through boilers, circulation ratio is unity


What is combustion ?
– It is very high speed chemical reaction-oxidation so speedy that the
heat of reaction keeps the firing of unburnt part of fuel , keeping the
flame or burning continuous

Secondary combustion
– The burning of fuel in areas or spaces beyond the outlet of a furnace &
where combustion is not intended by the design

• What are advantages of pulverization ?

Increase in surface area- high rate of combustion

Less excess air required

Higher efficiency

Poor quality coal can be burnt
– Better combustion control

Slagging and clinkering problem are less

Unburnt loss is less

Ash handling problems are less

Cold start up is easy

Faster heat release – better for super thermal power stations
• For grinding which type of coal, ball mills are preferred?

Coal having low in volatiles and hard

Tangential Burner Arrangement

• Why tangential burner arrangement is preferred ?

High heat generating capacity.

Uniform heat distribution.

Low clinkering probability

Less combustible in fly ash

Better flame stability

Better steam temp controls possible using burner tilt

Suitable for high capacity boilers
• What is usual ratio of width to depth of tangential burners furnace

1 to 1.2

Safety Protections in Boiler

• Safety interlocks (Master Fuel Trip-MFT- FSSS)for high pressure boiler

Both ID fan trip

Both FD fan trip

All mill trips on PA header press.v low

Loss of all fuel

Unit flame failure.

Furnace draught v.high and v.low

Re heater protection

Drum level high / low trip

Turbine / Generator trip to Boiler trip

Loss Of DC Supply

Emergency trip push buttons

Boiler pressure very high trip
Safety Systems
• Safety Valves
– What is safety valves ?
• Prevents boiler pressure from rising above a predefined pressure by opening to
allow excess steam to escape thus guarding against a possible explosion.

Safety valves Testing
• Blow safety valves after boiler annual shutdown.
• Electromatic Relief valve can be tested when boiler is in operation.
• Safety valve defects to be attended without any delays.
• Expansion joints
Safety Parameters in Boiler
• Parameters to be monitored for ensuring boiler safety

Flame intensity / Flame scanners

Furnace draft

Drum level

Excess Air / O2 / CO2 / CO in flue gas at Economiser inlet

Unburnt in Fly ash

Flue gas temperature at Air heater / Economiser / LTSH zones

Soot blower / Air heater blower operation

Boiler Steam / Water Chemistry

Freeness of boiler expansions

Backstay / suspensions inspection
Boiler Water Chemistry
Silica Level
• Permissible level of silica in drum

Depend on operating pressure in drum

With rise in drum pressure, permissible limit is reducing

It is generally expressed in ppm
• Process of removing silica

Blow down

Controlling the source supplying silica(Condenser / Make up)
• Process of removing silica from turbine blades

Rise in Curtis wheel press. & Axial Shift are indications of silica deposit on turbine

On / Off line turbine washing to remove deposits by lowering turbine parameters
and condensate drain to waste. Condensate drain sample silica and conductivity to
be monitored.

During shutdown cleaning of turbine blades

Drum Silica at Different Pressure

Flue Gas Analysis for Bituminous Coal Firing
Boiler Tube Leak
• How to identify Boiler tube leakage ?

Clear distinguish sound

Variation in drum level

Rise in hotwell make up flow

Difference in feed flow and steam flow

Water coming out from second pass hoppers

Furnace draft variation

Sharp drop in steam pressures

Rise in ID fans loading

Drop in flue gas temperatures

Noticeable fog fumes emission from chimney

Sonic leak detection if installed.
Boiler Tube Leak
• Actions to be taken

Maintain furnace draught

Maintain drum level. If necessary start standby BFP.

Start reducing boiler load

Location identification

Allow unit to trip on protection or hand trip.

Box up the boiler after purging.

Try to maintain drum level keeping BFP running

Allow natural cooling and drain the boiler

When tube leak is confirmed, try to shut down unit as early as possible to avoid
secondary damage. Secondary damage will increase shut down period.
Boiler Inspection
• Frequency : Once in a year
• Steps for shut down :

Gradually reduce load & Shut down boiler

Box up boiler & allow natural cooling

Run ID fan and open vents at pressure 2.0 Kg/cm2

Drain water wall,Super heater, Reheater, LTSH & Economizer

Disconnect feed line, drains, steam lines

Open furnace doors, manholes

Evacuate Fly &Bottom ash

Carry out electrical, instrument & mechanical isolations

Boiler Internal Inspection

• Checking of presence of deposits on external surface of water wall tubes, SH tubes,
Economizer tube.
• Cleaning of tubes using high pressure water jets
• Cleaning of Air heater by high pressure water jets
• Deposits which are hard to dislodged to be brushed off
• Cleaning of second pass ash hoppers
• ESP washing and inspection, maintenance
• Fans bearing, guide vane, blades inspection , maintenance
• Valves (including safety valves) / Dampers servicing
• Coal nozzles,wind box & Burner tilt inspection, maintenance
• Duct inspection & Maintenance

Pressure Part Inspection

• Drum inner surface :

Presence of development of cracks, corrosion, pitting, thinning of sections
– Drum internal inspection, cleaning
• Headers & Drains :

Deposits, thinning out , blockage
• Other surfaces of water wall, SH, Economizer tubes :

Thinning out due to erosion, Deformation /bulging out, increase in diameter.,
obstruction to free thermal expansions etc.
• Boiler Hydraulic Test
• Wet Preservation
Boiler Efficiency

By loss method

Efficiency = 100 - % losses

Major losses :
– Dry stack loss (hot flue gases)
– Wet stack loss (moisture in fuel)
– Combustible loss
– Radiation loss
– Sensible heat of ash
Factors responsible for inefficiency of boiler
– High back end temperature
– High unburnt in fly and bottom ash
– High moisture in fuel
– Heavy Slagging and fouling
– Low Economizer inlet temperature
– Boiler operating at low parameters
– Steam / Water leaks
– Drain / vents / safety valve passing
– Blow downs
– Poor coal quality
How to improve boiler efficiency
• Optimizing operating parameters with different coal quality. Combustion
optimization by CO / O2 monitoring, Flame intensity meters
• Need base soot blowing
• Mill performance (to control unburnts)
• Air heater blowing
• Operation of boiler at rated parameters
• Improve regenerative cycle performance
• SCAPH cleaning
• Arresting leaks
• Improving boiler water chemistry to reduce blow downs

Performance parameters
• Specific steam consumption

Steam consumption per unit generated
• Specific coal consumption

Coal consumption per unit generated
• Specific oil consumption

Oil consumption per unit generated
• Unit heat rate

Heat units consumed per unit generation
• DM water consumption (%)
• Auxiliary consumption (%)
• Stack Emission
• Boiler Continuous run

Cost of power
– Cost of power is function of administrative cost and fuel cost

Method to arrive Fuel Cost
– From fuel consumption,generation, sp fuel consumption, fuel cost, cost
of unit
– Unit heat rate(Boiler efficiency and turbine heat rate), CV of fuel, sp
fuel consumption, cost of unit

Economy of power plant depends on

– Fuel Quality & cost

– Boiler performance
– Turbine performance
– Condenser and cooling tower performance.
– Generator performance
– Regenerative cycle performance
– Auxiliary used on work
– Plant load factors
– No of trips / Shut downs
• What is foaming ?

Formation of stable foam on evaporative surface of boiler
• Major factors contributes foaming

High salt content in boiler water

Presence of oil / grease in boiler water

High alkali concentration in boiler water
• Effect on quality of steam

Foam swells & disintegrates in to minor droplets carrying dissolved salts reaching
super heater and turbine resulting SH tube failure & lower turbine outputs.


What is priming ?
– Infiltration of BFW into steam lines of boiler drum mainly due to Sharp
drop in pressure on account of sudden rise in load

Effect of priming
– May damage SH tubes / Turbine vibrations

High Stack Emissions

– Ash evacuation not proper
– ESP performance poor
– High flue gas velocities
– High ash coal than design coal

Limit : 150 mg/nm3

Pressure & Temperatures

Possible cause for low steam pressure

Mill troubles and performance

poor coal quality

Poor governing system performance

Sudden load increase

improper combustion

Tube leak

Possible cause for low steam temperature

Temp control valve not working properly

Sharp fall in Burner tilt

Excessive Wall blowing

Priming / Foaming in drum


Burner management system

Purge conditions

Flame intensity

Interlock, permissive & Protections

Burner system protection works on

Flame sensing device

Burner header pr

Atomizing media pressure

Burner lineup availability(Valve positions)

Control supply for protection system availability

Defined cycle of burner operation
• Firing sequence

If burner fuel header pressure and atomizing header pressure are adequate and
burner is lined up(Isolating valve open limit switch permissive), then burner start
command is executed

With the burner start command atomizing valve open

After opening the atomizing valve fuel valve starts to open

Ignitor advanced and ignitor sparking taking placed for predefined time and then
ignitor retracted

If flame sensing device (Flame scanner / Intensity meter)sense the flame, burner
remains in service, otherwise it’s shutdown sequence starts


Shut down sequence

Shut down starts if stop command is given or flame sensing does not sense the
flame and burner is in service

Fuel valve will close

Scavenge valve will open

Ignitor advanced and spark established for predefined time and ignitor retraced

Atomizing and scavenge valve will close

If burner does not establish, check burner tip for chockage, Ignitor spark, flame
scanner for flame sensing, Burner cycle operation etc.
Standby Boiler
• Starting of stand by boiler

Keep close main steam header valve.

Established boiler parameters as per boiler starting procedure
• Procedure for boiler paralleling with battery

Achieve steam temperature and pressure as per battery existing parameters keeping
drain valves before header isolating valves

Open boilers header isolating valve after operating its equalizing valve & close
drain valves

During this process keep constant watch on drum level as rising trend noticed in
drum level with steam flow increases

Adjust firing rate according to the steam demand and gradually increase the load on
General check:
• It is assume that boiler is in wet preservation after hydraulic test.
• Drain the boiler to achieve normal operating level in drum.
• Ensure sufficient DM water storage in Feed water tank. DM plant is available. BCW
system in service.
• All control systems have been checked and available for service.
• All instruments and associated mechanical equipments have been checked and
available for service.
• The oil firing equipment has been checked for proper functioning. All manual valves
should be opened and control valves closed.Ensure oil circulation.Oil stock available.
• All pulverizes and Raw Coal feeders have been checked and keep ready for operation.
• Wind box has been checked for proper damper positioning. SADC &
Burner tilt operation OK
• Feed water system lined up.
• All air handling equipments air and gas path dampers have been checked.
• Soot blowing / Air heater blowing system available for operation.
• Desuperheater spray control valves closed.
• Cooling water and compressed air is available.
• The turbine generator is available for operation.

Water side lineup

Economizer inlet drain v/v close & vent v/v open. (to be closed after ensuring full
bore water flow through vent)

Water wall drain v/v close,Drum vents open(to be closed after 2 kg/cm2 pr).

Attemperator manual operated v/v to be kept open and motorised and control v/v
kept closed.

Steam side lineup

Super heater header(1,4,4,8) drains to be kept open.

Super heater / reheater vents to be kept open.

Before stop v/v drain & start up vent to be kept open

All vents to be closed after ensuring steam flow
through it.

• Air path

Check that the Inspection doors in the air path are closed.

Check that FD fan permissive are satisfied.

Air heater inlet and outlet dampers to air header are open.
• Gas path

Check that the Inspection doors in the gas path are closed.

Check that ID fan permissive are satisfied.

Interconnecting damper before &after ESP are closed.

Inlet & outlet dampers of ESP & air heater are open.

• Purge condition
– Drum level normal(Ensure that drum level indicator at UCB matches with the absolute gauge glass)
– All coal feeders and pulverisers off.
– SH & RH spray header shutoff v/v closed.
– One pair of ID & FD in service.
– Air flow more than 30%
– Furnace draft normal
– Fuel oil trip v/v closed
– All burner oil v/v closed
– All mill HAD closed
– All mill CAD open 5% / close.
• Purge cycle is completed after 300 seconds.
• MFT reset
• Lit up the boiler preferably with bottom elevation oil burners.
• Increase the fuel firing rate such that the pressure increase is according to the standard
chart & temperature rise of steam does not exceed 110 deg C/ hour
• Flue gas temperature at the exit of furnace should be below 538 deg C until the turbine
synchronize & sufficient steam flow established from SH & RH.
• Close drains & vents after sufficient steam flow established.
• Charge PRDS and pull vacuum in turbine. Roll turbine & Synchronize. Gradually raise
the load.
• Start PA fans.Cut in mill. Raise boiler load.
• At 60 % boiler load, remove oil support.

Stable Operation
• Observe performance parameters like
– Main steam pressure & temperature
– Back end temp.
– Unburnt in fly / bottom ash
– PF fineness of mills
– Air flow / Oxygen
– Flue gas temp. at APH outlet
– Spray flows
– Burner tilts
– Fuel demand
– Milling parameters
– DM water make up
– Water chemistry
– Fans loading
– Drum level and Furnace draft
– Economiser inlet temp.

• Reasons
• Annual survey/Long shutdown
• Internal boiler maintenance/Turbine shutdown
• Steam/Water leakages
1) Boiler drain
2) Boiler pressure ‘0’.
3) Boiler boxup

• Duration

> 10 days

>24 hours

< than 24 hours

• Normally, during plan s/d m/c off bar time is predefined. Thus load reduction has to be
started accordingly. Here the intention is to reduce the pressure to ‘0’ and cool it
• Operate the soot blowers prior to load reduction.

Logic:- To clean the boiler tubes as far as possible.
• Gradually decrease the load. Reduce the firing rate of pulveriser. Allow the pressure
and temp to drop, to accelerate cooling.
• When feeder rating of all pulverisers is reduced to 40 % of maximum, introduce oil
support at top elevation. Gradually reduce feeder rating of top mill.

Logic:- Temp will decrease and also flame stability at low load will be better with
lower elevation mills.

• Reduce Mill loading to minimum, Switch off RC feeder, close the hot air shut off gate.
Stop mill when coal air temp has reduced to 45 deg C after ensuring that mill is
completely empty. Associated wind box dampers will close on Auto.

Logic:- Empty mill will help in carrying out mill maintenance.
• Charge the SCAPH if required.

Logic:- To maintain backend temp.
• Similarly stop the other mill in top to bottom order. Before reducing further load
introduce more oil support at that elevation.

Logic:- For flame stability
• Reduce the air flow such that it does not decreases below 30 % till the boiler is on line.
To avoid the firing instability during this time due to high relative air flow, reduce the
wind box pressure to its lowest setting.
• Change the PRDS from unit to other station steam line.

Logic:- Reduction in boiler press will reduce the PRDS pressure and hence chances
of Low vacuum in turbine.
• Close the desuperheating isolating valves.
• After the last mill is stopped, trip the turbine, keeping ‘Turbine trip to Boiler trip’
protection bypassed.

Logic:-Tripping of turbine will trip the boiler resulting in removal of oil guns
without scavenging.
• Remove the oil support gradually and scavenge the oil guns before taking out of

Logic:-Scavenging of burner will clean the burner.
• After taking out all the burners, the boiler will be trip (It will trip on loss of all fuel).
Purge the boiler at least for 5 minutes.

Logic:-To remove the unburnt combustibles.
• Stop the fans, box up the boiler and stop air heater when the flue gas temp at air heater
inlet has dropped below 200 *C.

Logic:- To avoid secondary combustion in air heaters.
• After about four hours, start ID fan for forced cooling of boiler.
• Operate ring header blow down at @ 10 kg/cm2

Logic:- To remove scale and impurities present.

• Open all vents of boiler at 5 kg/cm2.

Logic:- Pressure reduction and quick draining possible.
• Drain the boiler when water temp is reduced below 94 *c.
• Scanner fan/Igniter cooling fan to be run till boiler temp reduces below 100* c
• Isolate all auxiliaries.
• Keep the record of boiler expansion.
• Empty Bottom ash hopper and fly ash from ESP.
• What is Boiler box up ?

Boiler to be S/D in such a manner that its temp and pressure remains as high as
possible. Economizer inlet v/v, M.S stop valve, Vents, Drains, Sampling v/vs to be
closed tightly to avoid reduction in pressure. Open Reheater vent and drains.

• The objective of operation management are :

– Operation of units at minimum partial loading and maximum availability.
– Operation of units at rated parameters.
– Efficient Control of Water Chemistry.
– Operation of plant at minimum demineralised water make up
consumption,soft water consumption, auxiliary power consumption and coal
/ secondary fuel consumption.
– Operation of plant and accessories at optimum efficiencies.
– Operation of unit with all Auto control loops in service

How to Achieve ?
• To achieve the above objectives following practices are adopted :
– Systematic monitoring and reporting systems.
– Easy availability of operating instructions, manuals and other literature to
operating engineers and staff.
– Efficient up keep of instruments, auto loops, annunciations, protections and
– Good house keeping.
– Good working environment.
– Proper training.
– Regular in-house performance tests
– Regular condition monitoring of equipments

Start of the Shift

• Taking charge and previous shift report / log book study
• Ensure boiler is operating with due regard to safety and efficiency
• Man power management
• Equipments under isolation and to normalize
• Boiler important parameters
• Deashing / Soot blowing / Boiler water chemistry status / gauge glass
• Reporting to higher up for important issues

What are the prime functions of condenser ?
– Reduces back pressure on turbine-increases work done per kg of steam-
increases efficiency of power plant.
– Exhaust steam condensate can be recycled
– Non condensate (Air) removed from the system

Troubles experienced with condenser
– Low vacuum
– Tube leakage

Reasons for Low Vacuum

Rise in C.W. Inlet Temp

Less C.W. Flow

Air Ingress in the system

Dirty Tubes
Low Condenser Vacuum
• Reasons for High CW inlet temp

Atmospheric conditions

CTID fans out of service

Damage fills in cooling tower

Hot basin nozzles choked
• Less C.W. Flow

Reduced output

Dirty tubes

Debris arrived at water box

High CW sump filter difference

Ultrasonic Flow Meter

• 2 nos.of transducer are to be mounted on the pipe.
• Ultrasonic waves are passing through pipe.
• Time taken by waves to pass through pipe is proportionate to flow
inside the pipe.
Air ingress in Condenser

What are the effect of air leakages in the condenser ?
– Increases back pressure-low thermal efficiency
– Pressure of air lowers partial pressure of steam i.e Steam will condense
at lower temp & that will require high cooling water flows to maintain
– Reduces rate of condensation as air is poor in thermal conductivity
Major Sources of Air Ingress
• L.P. Turbine Bursting Plates
• L.P. Turbine Parting Plane Joints
• Condenser Gauge Glass packings
• Sub atmospheric valve valve glands
• Gland steam parameters not maintained
• Standby Ejector & Starting ejector air valve passing
• Vacuum breaker valve not sealed
• Leaky Joints and flanges in sub atmospheric system

How to confirm Air ingress ?

• If Air Suction Temp. remains very low than Saturation temp of steam.
• Condensate temperature remains low and exhaust hood temp. remains
• Rate of Back Pressure Decay, i.e when ejector steam valve is closed and
drop in vacuum is higher than drop recommended.
• Direct Measurement- Through rotameter mounted at Ejector outlet.
• Using ultrasonic leak detector

Dirty Tubes
• Dirty tubes are judged by

Inspection of water box and passing cutters through tubes

Reduced cooling water flow

Rise in differential pressure across CW inlet - outlet water box
• Tube cleaning methods

Intermittent dosing of Chlorine

On load mechanical cleaning

High Pressure water jetting

Chemical cleaning
On Line Tube Cleaning
Condenser Tube Leak
• Can be judged from

Rise in hot well conductivity

Rise in Hot well level

If small leak, rise in drum conductivity
• Action

Isolate the part condenser and carry out leak test

If major leak, shut down the unit and carry out hydraulic test
Cooling Tower

Cooling tower maintenance
– Cleaning of hot and cold basins to remove microbiological growth and
– Cleaning of hot basin nozzles
– Inspection and replacement of damage splash fills
– Uniform distribution of water
– Maintenance of flow control valves
– CTID fans condition monitoring for vibration measurement

Back Pressure Terminology


What is the vacuum efficiency of condenser?
– Ratio of actual vacuum to ideal vacuum
Patm - (Psat + Pair)
Vacuum = ---------------------
Patm – Psat
where Patm = Atmospheric pressure
Psat = Saturation pressure of steam
Pair = Partial pressure of air in condenser