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To minimize oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emission, maximize boiler combustion efficiency, achieve safe and reliable burner combustion, it is crucial to master global boiler and at-the-burner control of fuel and air flows. Non-uniform pulverized fuel (PF) and air flows to burners reduce flame stability and pose risk to boiler safety by risk of reverse flue gas and fuel flow into burners. This paper presents integrated techniques implemented at pilot ESKOM power plants for the determination of global boiler air/flue gas distribution, wind-box air distribution and measures for making uniform the flow being delivered to burners within a wind-box system. This is achieved by Process Flow Modelling, at-the-burner static pressure measurements and CFD characterization. Global boiler mass and energy balances combined with validated site measurements are used in an integrated approach to calculate the total (stoichiometric + excess) air mass flow rate required to burn the coal quality being fired, determine the actual quantity of air that flows through the burners and the furnace ingress air. CFD analysis and use of at-the-burner static, total pressure and temperature measurements are utilized in a 2-pronged approach to determine root-causes for burner fires and to evaluate secondary air distribution between burners.
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