Emerson aims to improve performance on biomass power plants

By Chris Hanson | June 28, 2013

Missouri-based Emerson Process Management has integrated a biomass fuel moisture sensor with its Ovation Expert Control System to allow a biomass-fueled power plant to monitor feedstock moisture content and adjust combustion processes.

Unlike measuring flue gases to determine combustion efficiency, the new system monitors the moisture content of biomass as it is being fed into the chamber. The system then takes the readings and adjusts the combustion air to the characteristics of the fuel based on the master set-point output, boiler response and the overall thermal cycle which could enable the plant to react to changes in fuel moisture content and potentially improve combustion efficiency.

“The variable moisture content of biomass fuels presents a challenge for operators who are under pressure to maximize performance from their power plants,” said Bob Yeager, president of Emerson Process Management’s Power and Water Solutions department. He added that using continuous monitoring data, operators were able to make faster adjustments that increase in net year megawatt hour.

A recent test completed at an Italian power company that uses wood chips reported higher plant efficiency and reduced maintenance costs.