At Kuopion Energia power plant the moisture information is available before unloading
Moisture information available before unloading
The measurement of fuel quality in power plants has been developed considerably in recent years and its importance will become even more important as the share of fossil fuels is replaced by less homogeneous biomass. The biomass to be burned arrives at the power plant in trucks or trains or vessels. One load may contain forest residue chips imported from the surrounding area, one lorry can contain recycled wood chips, and one may contain by-products of the forest industry, such as sawdust and bark. These loads can be very different in terms of moisture and energy content – and the variation between individual loads can also be very high. However, the quality information of the loads, of which moisture information is the most important, is currently only available when the fuel is already being unloaded and the fuel is entering the boiler or in some cases it has already been burnt.
Prometec’s product development goal has been to provide real-time moisture information on biomass loads before the load is unloaded at the power plant. The development has been based on a fully automated sampling robot, almost a decade of fuel measurement data and mathematical prediction models refined with intelligent machine learning solutions.
As a result of long-term product development, Prometec is now the first in the world to provide real-time fuel moisture data before unloading. Data is available throughout the supply chain via the Q-Data cloud service system developed by Prometec. As a result, the moisture data will enable better control of the entire fuel quality chain, as the fuel supplier will already be able to react to quality issues with real-time data. At the power plant, moisture data is an essential control parameter for the entire combustion process: the better the moisture data of the fuel unloaded into the storage silos, the more efficiently the boiler combustion can be controlled, and combustion losses and emissions minimized.
Q-Data fuel management system
A prototype of the Q-Data system has already been developed and tested in Kajaani, but the first actual Q-Data system will be built for Kuopio Energia within next few months. The use of the real-time moisture data produced by the system will be developed in cooperation with Kuopion Energia. The first objective is to use the real-time fuel moisture data to instruct the truck driver where to unload the fuel. In this way, for example, dry fuel can be driven to one storage silo and more moist fuel to another, and the boiler feed can be directed to the storage silos to ensure that the fuel flow is as even as possible in terms of moisture. In the future, the aim is to provide quality data directly to the power plant control system so that the boiler combustion process can be controlled as energy-efficiently as possible by optimizing the fuel supply.
“This solution, developed by Prometec, will for the first time allow immediate forecasting of delivery lots with different moisture content. This is exactly the data we need, for example to use artificial intelligence to tune our combustion process for optimum efficiency and to get the most out of the fuels we buy. It is also really important that we can react immediately and intervene if he fuel supplied does not meet the quality requirements,” says Peter Seppälä, Production Director of Kuopion Energia.
“It’s great that we can put our innovation into practice with our long-term partner Kuopion Energia and use the data to find ways to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions in plants,” says Henna Karlsson, Business Director at Prometec. “We want to be a pioneer in biomass quality control and we believe that our innovation will help power plants to achieve significant cost savings while promoting more sustainable use of natural resources,” says Henna Karlsson.