NEWS RELEASE                                                                  February 2017

Coal-fired Boiler IIoT needs to draw on Accumulated Materials Wisdom

IIoT promises to deliver higher efficiencies and lower operating costs to coal-fired boiler operators around the world. Much of the progress will be dependent on better choices of existing materials and development of new ones.

When linked to remote O&M centers coal-fired boilers in developing countries can perform to the same high levels as units in countries with the greatest reservoir of materials knowledge.

Low cost sensors and wireless transmission will instantly generate huge amounts of data which is analyzed and acted upon by digital process management programs. All the programs need to incorporate a succession of data to information, to knowledge, to wisdom. The digital management from data to knowledge is well advanced, but the digital management to move from knowledge to wisdom is in its infancy. There needs to be a major effort to develop the Industrial Internet of Wisdom (IIoW) to interconnect the expertise of suppliers of materials, products, processes and plants. There needs to be interconnection between plants within a utility as well as with associations, research institutions, and the media. Materials suppliers do not generally deal directly with the end users, so interconnection of this group will be the most challenging.

With IIoT the corrosion rates of materials in the high temperature and pressure regimes created by ultra-supercritical operation will be comprehensively and continuously analyzed. There have been new alloys and new coatings created to deal with temperatures above 1000°F in the steam cycle. There are multiple coating materials and multiple means of application to a range of products from piping to valves.

In the McIlvaine service 44I Coal-fired Power Plant Decisions (formerly PPAQD), there is an ongoing evaluation of high performance valves for temperatures in excess of 750°F. This includes the coatings and other materials but also the valve design (ball, valve, gate) and the seal and component design (trunnion vs. ball etc.). This is just one of the many in depth studies related to coal-fired boilers that the McIlvaine Company has conducted over the years.

McIlvaine has taken the further step of compiling information on all plants within a utility organization. In 4S01 Berkshire Hathaway Energy Supplier and Utility Connect, McIlvaine is gathering information on the high efficiency condensate filter media at one plant vs. the lower efficiency media at another. For each of the boiler baghouses McIlvaine has surveyed the media material (fiberglass vs. PPS vs, P84) media construction (membrane laminate vs. multi nonwoven vs. woven) weight of material, and bag life.

All of these details become important in optimizing plant performance. McIlvaine conducted nine hours of webinars for BHE on reducing NOx at three units. Combustion optimization strategies offered by GE, Siemens, and Emerson had to be tailored to the temperature limitations of the filter media. A new catalytic high temperature filter media offered great promise but was eventually determined to be too costly a process modification.

In IIoT the first principle is to provide structure. This is equally true for IIoW. Among the initiatives already undertaken by McIlvaine to provide part of the structural foundation are the Decision Guides.

IIoW is in its infancy and needs to keep pace with the IIoT progress. McIlvaine will be reaching out to all interested parties. On Thursday, March 2, there will be a webinar on IIoT and Remote O&M for coal-fired boilers. Weekly webinars on products, processes and industries will identify opportunities.

For more information on the weekly webinars click on Weekly IIoT Webinars