In the last few years, there has been a move away from burning fossil fuels through the co-utilisation of biomass and coal and finally to 100% biomass such as wood and waste wood products. Unfortunately, burning of biomass causes widespread fouling of superheater tubes and corrosion can occur rapidly under the sticky alkali chloride deposits. Even at today's maximum steam temperatures of 500 to540°C there are some severe corrosion problems when burning 100% wood-based fuel. It is also desirable to be able to burn other environmental fuels such as straw, demolition wood or other wood-waste products, to reduce production costs and avoid dumping waste at landfill sites. This, however, makes the corrosion and fouling problems even more serious.
A complete set of superheaters for a 100 MW combined heat and power boiler costs in excess of 1 MEuro. The durability of superheaters is thus an important factor in determining the long-term production costs. Unplanned outages due to leaking superheaters are also very expensive. As well as causing corrosion problems, the build-up of deposits reduces the heat uptake to the superheaters which leads to lower efficiency. Consequently, ways are being sought to reduce superheater corrosion.
Most biomass fuels have a high content of alkali metals and chlorine, but they contain very little sulphur compared to fossil fuels. Potassium chloride, KCl, is found in the gas phase, condenses on the superheater tubes and forms complex alkali salts with iron and other elements in the steels. These salts have low melting points and are very corrosive. Vattenfall has developed and patented an instrument for in-situ measurement of gaseous alkali chlorides which gives an indication of how corrosive the flue gases are. This instrument is called an in-situ alkali chloride monitor (IACM). Vattenfall has also developed and patented a concept with a sulphate containing compound called “ChlorOut” , which is sprayed into the flue gases after combustion is complete, but before the flue gases reach the superheaters, and effectively converts KCl into potassium sulphate, K2SO4. This compound much less corrosive than KCl. In the experiments reported here the sulphate used in ChlorOut was ammonium sulphate. This is also used for the reduction of NOx.
This study reports on measures taken to reduce superheater corrosion in two fluidised bed boilers burning wood-based fuels, using the ChlorOut additive to control the KCl levels and by using more corrosion-resistant steels.
Woodhead Publishing Limited, 2008. 428-444 p.