Optimization of Coal-Fired Power Plant Exhaust Air Ducts
NIPSCO Bailly Generating Station had a problem with a coal fired boiler. After completing the installation of pollution control equipment, the exhaust air ducts, through which exhaust gas from coal combustion is discharged to pollution control units, were operating at just 85 to 90 percent of maximum capacity. The reduced operating capacity diminishes overall energy production and revenue. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) has been recognized as a cost-effective tool for the troubleshooting and optimization of the system.
CFD models were used to analyze detailed flow patterns of the air ducts for troubleshooting. The CFD simulation results were validated using measurement data and visualized on a Virtual Reality (VR) system. After identifying the cause of the problem, a series of parametric studies were conducted with the introduction of multiple turning vanes in order to provide an optimized solution. The effect of different turning vane configurations was investigated and visualized in an immersive environment. The optimized design was recommended and implemented based on CFD simulations and VR visualization.
Flow restrictions were identified as the cause of the problem. An optimized design of the exhaust duct using multiple turning vanes was generated and installed, which resulted in operation at full capacity. According to Tim Wright at NIPSCO, “When the vanes were installed, the derate went away. Using rather rough estimates, the result is an estimated $1.9 million in annual savings if the unit continues to operate in this manner.
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Faculty Collaborator: Dr. Chenn Q. Zhou