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On line monitoring of Bottom Ash Hopper Temperature after quenching

of hot ash lumps falling from heat-transfer area to the slag bath of
scrapper conveyor.
BY
D.N. TIWARY (GM MTC)
S.K. KESKAR (AGM MM ASH+CIVIL) I/C
D.PRASAD (AGM MM-ASH)
MANISH SAHU (SR. MANAGER MM-ASH)
DEEP KUMAR (DY. MANAGER MM-ASH)

PREAMBLE: Bottom Ash hopper explosions was occurring in KORBA Unit#7 boiler when hot ash lumps
falling from heat-transfer surfaces enter the slag bath of the Scrapper conveyor under the boiler, ten times
from October 2015 to December 2015. The occurrence of explosions was intermittent in nature and was
unpredictable. Due to explosion BAH1 Dip box towards chimney side got damage badly several times and
in one incident portion of dip box towards chimney side got blown away up to 15 meters’ distance. The
mechanism of explosion was analyzed systematically and it was found that explosion was occurring due to
transient boiling phenomenon during falling of hot heavy porous lumps of slag/clinkers while immersing in
bottom ash hopper slag bath. The transient boiling phenomenon is also known as Steam explosion/Vapor
explosion. Total losses due to BAH explosion was 36.86 Mus (Costing 847.78 lacs @Rs 2.30).

IPS 2016 KEY RECOMMENDATIONS: Detail study report on BAH explosion in Korba unit#7 were
presented & published in International O&M Conference 2016(IPS 2016). As per the recommendations of
IPS 2016 to avoid BAH explosion , all NTPC coal based station has to monitor Quenching water pressure
and Bottom Ash Hopper Temperature after quenching of hot ash lumps falling from heat-transfer surfaces
to the slag bath of scrapper conveyor. The IPS 2016 recommendations were implemented in UNIT#7,4&6
during unit O/H. In rest of the unit it will be implemented during its AOH.
.
PAST OCCURRENCE IN NTPC: First reported BAH Explosion in NTPC was in Talchar unit#3 on
29.03.03. As per published report: The damage on structure of the BAH and the pressure parts was
analyzed for its cause. It is suspected to have occurred due to sudden localized pressurization caused by
evolution of gas/vapor from the entrapped water in the falling heavy porous lumps of slag/clinkers while
immersing in bottom ash hopper water bath. The undue unidirectional waves which are likely to generate
under these circumstances, have exerted additional force on the pressure parts in S Panel and the structures
of the bottom ash hopper and caused distortional damages to the above mentioned components.

After NTPC Talchar unit#3 incident, NTPC KORBA Unit#7 experienced similar explosion (Total 10 times
from 02.10.2015 to 20.12.2015) Which were analyzed by a committee formed by GM(O&M). As per
research paper published in 1990 International Coal Engineering Conference (by B.R. Stanmore and M.
Desai, Department of chemical engineering university of Queensland, Australia) the BAH explosion occurs
due to Liedenfrost effects (which deals with interaction of very hot object with cold and vaporizable liquid).
Further by referring different latest research paper for analyzing the unusual phenomenon of BAH
explosion in Korba Unit#7, finally problem of frequent unpredictable BAH explosion in Korba unit#7 has
been resolved.

BRIEF ABOUT STEAM EXPLOSION: Steam explosion/vapor explosion is very common phenomenon
in Nuclear power plant; Metal foundries, Paper industries & when lava of volcanic ash is interacting with
ocean etc. When extremely hot materials come in contact with relatively cool liquids an explosion may
occur due to transient boiling phenomenon (Leiden frost effect).

As per paper published in International journal of Heat & Mass Transfer in March 1999(Pressure and
power generation during explosive vaporization on a thin-film micro heater Z. Zhao, S. Glod, D.
Poulikakos* Institute of Energy Technology, Laboratory of Thermodynamics in Emerging Technologies,
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Center, Zurich 8092, Switzerland) :-
“When a liquid is superheated above its boiling point to temperatures near or at the homogeneous
nucleation limit, the energy released could create a so-called explosive vaporization, if a significant
fraction of this energy is manifested in the form of vapor expansion”. In this study, a thin-film micro
heater (100-micron m x110 micron m) was placed on the underside of a water layer. The surface
temperature of the heater was rapidly (6-micron s) raised electrically, well above the boiling point of water.
As a result, rapid vaporization took place. Due to its rapid growth, the vapor volume performs mechanical
work on its surrounding and emits acoustic pressure waves. By measuring the acoustic emission from an
expanding volume, the dynamic growth of the vapor micro layer is reconstructed where a linear expansion
velocity up to 17 m/s was reached. Using the Rayleigh-Plesset equation, an absolute pressure inside the
vapor volume of 7 bars was calculated from the data of the acoustic pressure measurement. The amount of
extractable mechanical energy produced from the explosive expansion of a vapor micro layer on a thin film
micro heater surface, its rate of production, and the energy conversion efficiency was also quantified in this
work.

As per latest research paper published in the Japanese society of mechanical engineer journal” Transient
boiling phenomena of high-temperature clod of grains in low boiling point liquid” by Ryusuke
SAITO*1 and Yutaka ABE, (University of Tsukuba, Graduate School of Systems and Information
Engineering Tennoudai 1-1-1, Tsukuba-shi, Ibaraki, 305-8573, Japan).It has been established
experimentally that when approximately 12 gm hot clod of grain(loosely sintered) is heated at 1110 deg
centigrade and is drop into a pool of cold water at 30 degree centigrade vapor explosion occur which was
captured by a high speed camera and pressure generated was recorded by pressure transducer
.Experimentally it was also established that the vapor explosion could not be reported in case of hard
clod of grain.

BRIEF ABOUT NTPC KORBA UNIT#7 BAH EXPLOSIONS: After NTPC Talchar unit#3 incident
in 2003, NTPC KORBA Unit#7 experienced similar explosion of BAH (Total 10 times from 02.10.2015
to 20.12.2015)

Quenching system : The hopper in wet-bottom furnaces contains quenching water. When the very hot
slag comes in contact with the quenching water, the ash fractures instantly, crystallizes, and forms pellets in
addition to that it cools down the BAH slag to avoid transient boiling phenomenon in slag bath.

Quenching arrangement: The four V-section of the bottom ash hopper have two slopping walls
and are provided with two sets of hopper slope jetting nozzles located at both Right and Left BA hopper
slopes. Each set consisting of three nozzles. The upper portion consists of two (08) nos. spray window
nozzles, which are always kept open and twenty (20) nos. ash quenching nozzles (green color). Water is
supplied to the above nozzles from Bottom ash high pressure (BAHP) water pumps. The ash quenching
nozzles continuously spray water to cool the hot ash. During continuous ash cleaning operation the
hopper slope jetting nozzles (lower portion blue color) need to be operated only in emergency.
No any BAH explosion reported since inception (COD on 21st March 2011) till 2nd October 2015 in
UNIT#7.1st BAH explosion was observed on 2nd October 2015 in BAH 1, just after one week of unit
synchronization after clinker removal on 25.09.2015.

On 24.09.2015 Slope-jetting nozzles (Twelve numbers) were opened when unit was under S/D due to
clinkering and left remain open even after unit was normalized. Since water for Slope-jetting nozzles is
supplied from same header, water for quenching nozzle was not sufficient to quench the falling hot slag.
The same Slope-jetting nozzles were closed on 5.12.2015 to increased flow in quenching nozzle. Out of
total 10 explosions, 09 explosions were experienced before closing of slope-jetting nozzle (Blue color).
When again BAH explosion observed on 20.12.2015 unit was taken under S/D for BAH 1 dip box
replacement and checking of quenching nozzle (BAH1 side), out of 06 quenching nozzle one quenching
nozzle inlet pipe (towards unit 6 side) found 100% choke and one quenching nozzle inlet pipe found 80%
choke which were replaced and charged after complete flushing of quenching header.

100% choked 80% choked

Last BAH explosion in unit&7: on 20.12.2015 evening shift (19.45 hours) and Unit taken under S/D for
BAH dip box replacement & quenching nozzle checking: on 21/12/2015 at 18:00 hrs.
.
Monitoring of before quenching flue gas temperature measured by thermocouple at 11 meter

UNIT BURNER 11 MTR 11 MTR


DATE TIME LOAD COAL AIR O2 TILT MILLS I/S TEMP L TEMP R
23/12/15 17:30 500 344 1840 5.8/5.3 9 BCDEFJ 900/850 720/740
24/12/15 12:30 500 382 1874 6/5.9 30 ABDEFJ 600/620 900/920
28/12/15 11:45 505 320 1830 6.0/5.9 50 BDEFGH 590/580 610/600
29/12/15 12:00 500 318 1835 6.0/5.9 50 BDEFGJ 604/676 758/716
1/2/2016 17:35 503 351 1814 5.67/5.88 51 BCEFGJ 590/550 580/560
1/4/2016 15:30 504 379 1831 6.38/5.45 48 BCDEFGJ 621/527 615/533
1/6/2016 12:00 507 350 1807 5.63/5.48 46 BDDEFGJ 520/450 530/550
1/7/2016 16:45 502 324 1800 5.78/5.95 50 BDEFGJ 516/667 736/693
1/13/2016 16:42 507 307 1800 5.89/5.71 50 ABCDGH 765/663 870
1/14/2016 15:55 413 243 1519 7.07/6.21 47 BCDEGH 650/650 711/743
1/16/2016 16:58 510 326 1790 5.9/5.95 50 BCDEGH 765/663 870
1/20/2016 15:40 512 323 1733 5.91/5.41 50 ABDEGH 709/665 780
1/21/2016 16:25 495 307 1780 6.9/6.6 50 ABDEGH 740/684 750
1/23/2016 16:47 506 293 1778 6.1/5.7 50 AABDEFH 606/580 749
1/25/2016 16:30 505 277 1828 5.6/5.7 66 ABCEFH 610/694 671
1/28/2016 16:00 517 326 1700 5.2/5.5 50 ABCEFH 668/630 730
1/29/2016 17:00 515 330 1830 5/5.27 50 ABDEGH 620/631 732
1/30/2016 16:45 490 313 1798 5.1/5.8 46 ACDEGH 724/681 798
2/1/2016 16:25 505 302 1800 5.5/6.6 50 ACDEGH 768/759 830
2/2/2016 15:35 492 312 1780 5.3/5.4 50 ACDEGH 748/760 848
2/5/2016 11:00 503 303 1790 5.0/6.1 50 ABDFHJ 726/650 810
2/6/2016 15:36 505 311 1875 5.0/5.81 50 BCDFHJ 698/760 785
4/28/2016 15:25 508 294 1742 6.09/5.3 75 ABCEFH 260/250 298

On 13.05.2016 we have taken flue gas temperature before and after quenching of hot slag, with a pyrometer
which were 338 and 114 deg centigrade respectively. Reading of flue gas temperature before and after
quenching clearly indicates the healthiness of quenching system. Earlier maximum flue gas temperature
before quenching was observed in the range 920 degree centigrade (23.12.15), if it is not cooled and if
molten slag is loosely sintered then there is maximum chances of occurring transient boiling phenomenon
in slag bath causing vapor/steam explosion in BAH.

Online thermocouple (02 front & 02 rear) are provided to monitor BAH Temperature after quenching of hot
ash lumps falling from heat-transfer surfaces to the slag bath of scrapper conveyor as per IPS 2016
recommendations. Online thermocouple is not working properly due to some technical reason. Online
thermocouple position need to be changed which will be done in Unit O/H.

1) Monitoring of Quenching water header pressure as per IPS 2016 Recommendations.

2)Online monitoring of BAH Temperature after quenching of hot ash lumps falling from heat-
transfer surfaces to the slag bath of scrapper conveyor as per IPS 2016 recommendations.
Unit-7 Thermocouple locations

Unit#4 & 6 Thermocouple locations

BAH-2 BAH1
BAH-3 Unit-4 Online temperature monitoring points

Unit-7 BAH-1explosion (on 06.10.2015) Unit-6 Online temperature monitoring points

CONCLUSION: Quenching system is designed in such a manner that when the molten slag comes in
contact with quenching water, the bottom ash fractures instantly, crystallizes and forms pellets. In addition
to that it cools down the BAH slag to avoid transient boiling phenomenon in slag bath. When loosely
sintered molten slag, not properly quenched by quenching water and falls in slag bath water pool, causes
vapor explosion (due to transient boiling phenomenon) and produces shock wave, which may damage BAH
dip box as well as S/C. (which is confirmed by the picture & video of U-7, NTPC Korba on 06.10.2015).

In view of above it is recommended that the healthiness of quenching system is to be ensured and to
be checked time to time, to avoid transient boiling phenomenon & generation loss.
Bibliography: -
1. Steam explosion in boiler ash hoppers by B. R. Stanmore and Medias, Department of chemical
engineering, University of Queensland, Australia.
2. The trigger mechanism of vapor explosion by Yutaka ABE, Hideki NARIAI & Yukihiro
HAMADA, Journal of nuclear science and technology.
3. Transient boiling phenomena of high-temperature clod of grains in low boiling point liquid by
Ryusuke SAITO and Yutaka ABE. University of Tsukuba, Graduate school of systems and
information engineering, Tennoudai 1-1-1,Tskuba-shi,Ibaraki,305-8573,Japan.Bulletin of the Japan
society of mechanical engineers.Vol.80.no811,2014.
4. Self-triggering mechanism of vapor explosions for a molten Tin and water system by Kunihito
Matsumura and Hideki Nariai. Journal of Nuclear science and technology.
5. The vapor explosion by L.C.Witte,J.E.Cox and J.E.Bouvier.
6. Pressure and power generation during explosive vaporization on a thin-film micro heater Z. Zhao,
S. Glod, D. Poulikakos* Institute of Energy Technology, Laboratory of Thermodynamics in
Emerging Technologies, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Center, Zurich 8092,
Switzerland