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Thermal ( Steam ) Power plants mainly consists of 4 circuits

Coal and ash Circuit

Coal produced in the mining site is transported to power plant site Coal handling equipment for generation of steam The combustion of coal produces ash which is collected and removed to ash storage yard through ash handling equipments

Air and gas circuit

FD or ID fans are used for supply the air to combustion chamber of the boiler through airpreheater The air preheater is placed in the path of flue gases to preheat the air The flue gases produced by combustion of fuels in the boiler furnaces after passing around boiler tubes and super heater tubes Pass through a dust collector or precipitator where most of dust is removed before venting it of to atmosphere through chimney

Feed water and steam circuit:

Prime mover develops power by utilizing steam generated in the boiler Then condenser is used to condense the steam coming out of prime mover A pump is used to feed the condensate to the boiler The condensate leaving the condenser is heated in feed heaters through extracted steam from lowest pressure extraction point of the turbine The feed water may also be supplied from external source to compensate any loss of steam and water. In the boiler shell and tubes water circulation is setup due to density difference of water between low and high temperature sections A super heater is used to super heat the wet steam from boiler drum and is then supplied to prime movers

Cooling water circuit

In the condenser, quantity of cooling water required to condense the steam is large and is taken either from lake, river or sea The cooling water is taken from upper side of the river and then passed through the condenser The hot water is then discharged to lower side of the river The system is known as open system Where water is not available in abundant water from condenser is cooled either in cooling pond or in cooling tower the system is known as closed system

Main Components of Thermal Power Plants

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Boiler Super heater Economizer Air preheater Reheater Steam turbine Generator Condensers Cooling towers Pumps 11. Coal mills 12. FD and ID Fans 13. ASH Precipitators 14. Water treatment plant

Fuels used in thermal power plant

Combustion of fuel is accomplished by mixing with air at elevated temperatures Oxygen in the air chemically unites with Carbon, Hydrogen of fuels and produce heat In thermal power plants normally steam is produced from water by using combustion heat of fuels (Except in Gas turbines) Various fuels were used in thermal power plants
Fossil fuels ( Coal, Oil & Gas) Industrial waste gases Synthetic fuels or SYNFUELS

Coal is the principal energy source for India because of its large deposits and availability Coal originated from vegetable matter, which grew millions of years ago Trees and plants falling into water decayed and later produced peat bogs Huge geological upheavals buried these bogs under layers of silt Subterranean heat, soil pressure and movement of earth's crust distilled off some of the bog's moisture and hardened it to form coal Basically classification of coal is based on Physical and chemical composition Peat Lignite and brown coal Bituminous coal Anthracite


Two types of coal analysis

Coal analysis

Proximate Analysis Gives: Behavior of coal when heated FC + VM + M + A = 100% by mass Ultimate Analysis Gives: chemical elements along with ash and moisture C + H + 0 + N + S + M + A = 100% by mass based on (a) as-received basis (useful for combustion calcu) (b) dry or moisture free basis (c) dry mineral-matter-free or combustible basis

Coal properties
There are certain properties of coal, which are important in power plant applications They are
sulphur content, heating value ash softening temperature swelling index grind ability, weather ability,

Desirable properties of coal

High calorific value Small sulphur content ( les than 1%) Good burning characteristics for complete combustion High grind-ability index High weather-ability

Grading of coal done on the basis

Heating value Size Ash content Sulphur content Ash softening temperature

Low grade coal First stage coal formation Contains 90% moisture Small amount of volatile matter Not suitable for power plants Used in domestic purposes Requires 1-2 months for drying in sunlight

Peat (20% water, Dried) has CV of 16 MJ / kg

Lignite (Brown coal)

Intermediate stage of coal development High amount of moisture 30-40% Brown in color High heating value and carbon compared to peat Should be stored to avoid spontaneous combustion Used in pulverized form Can be air dried easily Suitable for local use instead of transporting

Bituminous coal
Containing 46-86% of fixed carbon and 20-40% of VM Ash content may vary 6-12 % High percentage of volatile matter CV of 32 MJ / Kg Available in two forms CAKING and NON Caking Sub-Bituminous is having less moisture, ash than lignite and no CAKING power, used in briquette or pulverized form Semi-Bituminous coal high carbon and heating value, contain less moisture, ash, sulphur, &VM, Has tendency to break into pieces

Anthracite Coals
Contains more than 86% fixed carbon &VM around 8% Ignites slowly has high CV of 36 MJ / Kg Low ash, zero CAKING power Difficult to pulverize Anthracite coal

Liquid fuels

They are easy to handle, store and to burn They have nearly constant heating values They are primarily a mixture of hydrocarbon compounds, which may also contain nitrogen, oxygen and sulphur The bulk of the hydrocarbons belong to the paraffin series, like methane (CH4), ethane (C2H6) propane (C3H8) and butane (C4H10) which are gaseous, and pentane (C5H12) hexane (C6H14) and octane (C8H18) which are liquid at STP In addition, there can be isoparaffins, cycloparaffins and aromatic compounds

Carbon: 83-87%, Hydrogen: 11-16%, Oxygen + Nitrogen 0-7%, Sulphur 0-4% There can also be some moisture and sediment Crude oil distilled into a number of fractions gasoline, aviation fuel, kerosene, light diesel oil, heavy diesel oil, lubrication oil The heavier fractions are used for boiler fuels and chemical production The required physical properties of fuel oil are
specific gravity, viscosity, pour point, flash point and heating value

Gaseous fuels
Transportation of natural gas is made through pipelines Natural gas is the cleanest of all fossil fuels It is free from ash and mixes well with air to undergo complete combustion producing very little smoke It consists of a mixture of the most volatile paraffinsmethane to pentane It has high hydrogen content and produces a considerable amount of water vapour when burned The heat of combustion varies from 33.5 to 40 MJ/m3 Since the major constituent of all natural gases is methane Liquid natural gas (LNG) is transported by special tankers and stored in spherical pressure vessels to be used when needed, particularly during peak load.

Other fuels
Industrial Wastes & Byproducts blast furnace gas, coke oven gas, and refinery gas sugar factory refuse (bagasse); saw mill wood dust, rice husk Synthetic fuels Gaseous and liquid fuels from coal economically and environment friendly manner Liquid fuels using mixtures of fine coal in oil have been known as colloidal fuel, coal-inoil and more recently, coal-oil mixtures (COM)

Coal handling

Coal Crushers
1.Ring Type Coal Crusher 2.Hammer Mill Coal Crusher 3.Brad Ford Breaker

Ring Type Coal Crusher

Hammer Mill Coal Crusher

The coal is fed at the top Is crushed by the action of rings that pivot off centre on a rotor or by swinging hammers attached to it Adjustable screen bars determine the maximum size of the discharged coal

Brad Ford Breaker

Brad Ford Breaker

Bradford breaker which is used for large capacity work It consists of a large cylinder made up of perforated steel plates to which lifting shelves are attached on the inside The cylinder rotating slowly at about 20 rpm receives coal at one end The shelves lift the coal up and then the coal drops down by gravity

Combustion Equipments for Lumped coal burning

1. Grate-fired furnaces 2. Chamber-type or flame furnaces


Chamber type

Combustion Equipment For Burning Coal

Fuel bed furnaces (coarse particles) Pulverized coal furnaces (fine particles) Cyclone furnaces (crushed particles) Fluidized bed furnaces (crushed small particles)

Fuel bed furnaces (coarse particles)

There are two ways of feeding coal on to the grate
1. Overfeeding 2. Underfeeding


Receives fresh coal from top surface has following distinct zones
Fresh or green coal Coal losing moisture (Drying zone) Coking layer (loosing of VM) Distillation zone Incandescent coke ( Fixed carbon is consumed) Combustion zone Ash layer progressively cooled

Primary air gets warmed up as it flows through the ash layer As it passes through the incandescent coke layer(1200 C) Carbon converted to Carbon dioxide releasing heat continues till oxygen is consumed, if layer is thick CO2 is converted to CO reducing layer temperature water gas reaction also takes The stream while passing through distillation zone VM is added In distillation zone moisture is added Know stream contains N,CO2,CO,H2,VM&moisture

For combustion of this stream

A hot ignition point ( In the range of 10001300oC
Done by providing a fire brick lined arch which stores up the heat and remains at high temperature

Sufficient fresh air

Secondary air or over-fire air

Providing secondary air at right angles to up-flowing gas stream emerging out of fuel bed

Carbon is in CO, CO2 both are color less Carbon with hydrogen in VM which will be cracked to form free carbon at high temperature suspended in gas stream If Burner is not designed properly or operated properly leads to unburnt carbon particles this appears as black smoke on chimney top


In underfeeding coal is fed from below Primary air passing through holes in tuyeres diffuses through spaces in the raw green coal picking up moisture In distillation zone to stream VM is added In incandescent zone VM breaks readily burns with secondary air present above it where it is fed from top VM burning is somewhat cooler need longer time to ignite and burn

Mechanical Stokers
Overfeeding 1. Traveling grate stoker 2. Chain grate stoker 3. Spreader stoker 4. Vibrating grate stoker Underfeed stoker 1. Single retort 2. Multiretort

Traveling grate stoker

Traveling grate stoker

Grate surface is made up of Cast Iron bars joined together by links to form endless belt Belt wound around two sprockets A coal gate regulates the depth of fuel bed Simultaneous adjustment of Fuel bed thickness, primary air flow controls the burning rate so that at the end of its rear ash only remains

Advantages & Disadvantages

Simple and Initial cost is low Reliable in service and maintenance is low Gives high rate of heat release per volume of the furnace Limited coal can be carried on grate Clinker problems are common Ignition arches are required There is always some loss in the form of particles

Spreader stoker

Spreader stoker
Coal from hopper is fed by rotating feeder Feeder normally will have Blades fitted on the drum Fine particles burn in suspension Speed of the feeder varies with the steam output of boiler Grate is made up of CI bars, Links underneath the grate are connected to a lever Fuels used may be Bituminous, lignite, wood waste, baggase Coal size used in 6-36 cm

Advantages and Disadvantages

A wide variety of fuels can be used Clinker formation is reduced High temperature preheated air can be used Quick response to load variation Gives equal pressure drop and proper air distribution Operation cost is low Difficult to operate variable sized coal particles Fly ash and entrapped carbon particles

Underfeed stokers

Multiple retort

Pulverized coal handling system

Bowl Mill

Bowl Mill

Ball and Race mill

Advantages Low excess air requirement Less fan power Ability to use highly preheated air reducing exhaust losses Higher boiler efficiency Ability to bum a wide variety of coals Fast response to load changes Ease of burning alternately with, or in combination with gas and oil Ability to release large amounts of heat enabling it to generate about 2000 t/h of steam or more in one boiler Ability to use fly ash for making bricks etc. Less pressure losses and draught need.


1. 2. 3. 4.

Added investment in coal preparation unit Added power needed for pulverizing coal Investment needed to remove fly ash before ill fan Large volume of furnaces needed to permit desired heat release and to withstand high gas temperature


Mechanical Handling System Hydraulic Ash Handling System Low Velocity System High Velocity System Pneumatic Ash Handling System Steam Jet System


Mechanical Handling System

Hydraulic Ash Handling System Low Velocity System

Hydraulic Ash Handling System Low Velocity System

Hydraulic Ash Handling System High Velocity System

Pneumatic Ash Handling System