Source: LumaSense Technologies, Inc.
LumaSense Technologies, Inc. has introduced a unique thermal-imaging system that uses high-quality video and data analysis software to help coal-fired power plants run their boilers and produce power more efficiently.
The LumaSense BoilerSpection™ is a heavy-duty, radiometric thermal imaging system that allows operators to see through combustion flames, providing clear images from inside boilers, furnaces and kilns. This helps plants to better monitor boiler tubes and slag deposits that prevent boilers from running at peak efficiency. By proactively maintaining boilers, coal plants can improve boiler uptime by reducing the number of manual cleaning cycles and decreasing tube erosion typically caused by excessive cleaning.
For example, Alabama Power's Miller Steam Plant – located in West Jefferson, Ala. – has significantly reduced the number of "de-slags" on two of its four boilers using BoilerSpection, and eliminated the need for online washes during a six-month beta period. Prior to using BoilerSpection, the plant estimates it performed approximately 51 de-slags (a process that decreases generation on the units from 720 megawatts to 300 megawatts for approximately 4-6 hours) on the boilers in 2010. During the six-month beta test, they performed only 12 of these processes. The plant is planning to outfit its remaining two boilers with BoilerSpection.
"The cost savings on cleaning the boilers alone is worth the investment, but the increased productivity that BoilerSpection enables makes the plant much more efficient overall," said Brent Hand, maintenance team leader at the Miller Steam Plant. "The sharper images and analysis capabilities provide us the information we need to run the plant more efficiently, extract more energy from the coal, and run a better operation."
BoilerSpection enables plant operators to manage multiple camera systems, configure trip alarms for automating soot-blowers or water cannons, and establish minimum acceptable levels of clinker formation. The camera itself is protected by a heavy-duty enclosure with an integrated cooling system. The imaging system also uses cooled borescope optics and a 3.9-um infrared wavelength to see through combustion flames and monitor the boiler tubes and slag deposits.
In addition to the high-resolution camera designed to withstand harsh boiler conditions, BoilerSpection's data analysis software allows operators to measure and track changes over time, trigger events or alarms to help prevent unplanned shutdowns, archive data, and view images anywhere in the plant using HTML platforms, among other functions.
"With increased consumer demand and tighter environmental regulations, the top objective for any coal plant today is to squeeze out more energy from the same amount of coal," said Brett Sargent, vice president of global sales for LumaSense Technologies. "BoilerSpection is designed specifically for that purpose. It provides a continuous picture of how boilers are operating and gives plants the data they need to more efficiently maintain their boilers and reduce unnecessary downtime. By reducing the number of cleaning cycles, customers lose less production time and produce more energy."