Conference Presentation | Other Publications |
Efficiency increase of biomass combustion systems by a modular CO-lambda optimization: method and results from long-term verification
Zemann C, Max A, Gölles M, Horn M.
Citation: Zemann C, Max A, Gölles M, Horn M. Efficiency increase of biomass combustion systems by a modular CO-lambda optimization: method and results from long-term verification. 7. Mitteleuropäische Biomassekonferenz: CEBC 2023. 19. Jan 2023. Oral presentation.
Introduction and motivation
A key objective for the operation of biomass boilers is to achieve the highest possible efficiency while emitting the lowest possible pollutant emissions. In order to automate this task, CO-lambda optimization methods have been proposed in literature that ensure that the biomass boiler is operated at the lowest excess air ratio at which no relevant pollutant emissions occur, maximizing efficiency as a result. Since this optimal excess air ratio depends on various external factors, such as fuel properties, CO-lambda optimization methods continuously incorporate new measurements of the excess air ratio and the carbon monoxide content of the flue gas and estimate a new optimal excess air ratio during operation.
While achieving promising results in lab-scale tests, none of the CO-lambda optimization methods presented in literature has yet been able to gain practical acceptance. Either they are not robust enough and provide inaccurate estimates of the optimal excess air ratio or they are too slow and do not allow the optimal excess air ratio to be tracked sufficiently quickly. With the goal of providing a method that is fit for practical application, this publication presents a new modular approach for CO-lambda optimization that determines the optimal excess air ratio robustly and quickly, i.e. in real time.
The new approach for CO-lambda optimization approximates the correlation between the excess air ratio and the carbon monoxide content of the flue gas, the CO-lambda characteristic, with a continuous, algebraic, non-linear model function. For this purpose, it uses a recursive-least-squares algorithm to continuously identify the model function’s parameters that lead to the optimal fit with the measured data, which are the excess air ratio and carbon monoxide content of the flue gas. From these model parameters, the optimal excess air ratio is calculated and defined as a desired value for the biomass boiler’s existing controller. This existing controller then ensures, that the biomass boiler is operated with this desired optimal excess air ratio, thus, maximizing efficiency and decreasing pollutant emissions. As a result, this new approach for CO-lambda optimization is entirely modular and can be applied to any biomass boiler with an existing control strategy capable of accurately adjusting the excess air ratio. For the measurement of the carbon monoxide content of the flue gas, a separate sensor has to be used. For this study the commercially available and proven in-situ exhaust gas sensor “KS1D” provided by the company LAMTEC has been used.
The new approach for CO-lambda optimization was tested and validated at a biomass boiler with a nominal capacity of 2.5 MW that supplies a local heating network and combusts wood chips with a water content ranging from 30 w.t.% to 50 w.t.%. The long-term validation took place over an entire heating period, i.e. 5 months from November to March, during which the biomass boiler was operated alternately with the new approach for CO-lambda optimization and the standard control strategy, which means a constant desired residual oxygen content. In total the new approach for CO-lambda optimization was active for 1155 operating hours while the standard control strategy was active for 1310 operating hours. Compared to the standard control strategy, the new approach for CO-lambda optimization increased the biomass boiler’s efficiency by 3.8%, decreased total dust emissions by 19.5% and reduced carbon monoxide emissions on average (median) by 200 mg/m³. This demonstrates that the new approach for CO-lambda optimization is not only robust enough to run over a long period of time, it also leads to significant improvements in the biomass boiler’s operation. In addition, following these results, this new approach for CO-lambda optimization has also successfully been implemented and demonstrated at another biomass boiler with a nominal capacity of 1 MW where it has already been active for several months. This contribution presents the new approach to CO-lambda optimization in detail and discusses its technological and economic impact.