Sustainability still remains a massively high priority in the world today, with local, national and international programmes in place to incentivise people, organisations, companies and countries to ‘do their bit’ for the environment.
At an international level, the Paris Climate Agreement is setting ambitious targets, while at a regional level, EU emissions directives are setting an equal amount of pressure on member states to create their own programmes to cut emissions to acceptable levels, with these targets getting tougher to hit as date-related stage gates are reached.
One installation that is feeling the effects of this legislation is a large combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Iași, Romania’s second largest city. Two of the plant’s 420 T/hr steam boilers still operate on pit coal, with a fuel oil back up, and, as is true with many fossil-fuel powered systems, the emissions were less than optimal.
The plant’s operator realised that it needed to better manage and mitigate these emissions – especially the SO2 levels – and took this project as an opportunity to upgrade the entire control infrastructure for the power-generation system. For this project it employed Romanian company Elsaco Electronic SRL – a member of the Rockwell Automation PartnerNetwork™ as a Recognised System Integrator – that specialises in energy, hydro and automation & SCADA, covering a variety of projects not only in Europe but across the world.
Rockwell Automation Recognised System Integrators and Solution Partner companies are proven, trusted and established companies that offer demonstrated knowledge and experience in design, implementation, project management and maintenance of industrial control systems.
According to the end user: “The objective of the heating project in Iași was to create an investment program that would ensure compliance with the environmental obligations set under the Accession Treaty, and with the objectives of the national energy strategies and policies, such as improving energy efficiency, fuel flexibility and heating supply security.”
Environmental directives – especially in terms of emission control of fossil-fuel sources – can be hard targets to hit. A lot of the issues are down to working with an installed base of older equipment that was designed in an era before these targets and directives became common place. In most instances, it is possible to create some improvements in operational efficiencies, such as cleaner burning and tighter fuel control, but in others, where the process itself is not inherently environmentally friendly, you have to deal with the emissions as they are created in order to make them less harmful to the environment.
The CHP plant needed to deploy a new flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) solution in the two boilers’ shared smokestack, which would better manage the SO2 levels, while also undertaking a number of other improvements, such as refurbishing water boilers, electrostatic precipitators, pumps & transfer systems and the installation of low-NOx burners.
In terms of the FGD, the plant had to fulfil stringent performance parameters for SO2 concentration and dust concentration at the flue-gas evacuation outlet, including flue gas desulfurization efficiency and operational availability. The consumption of electricity, the quantity of reagent and the quantity of water used in the process also had to be tightly controlled and managed to remain under certain pre-determined values.
In addition to the scale of the project and the multiple variables, Elsaco, as the system’s designer and integrator, also faced project time constraints, which were compounded by the fact that it had to undertake testing and adjustments in the flue gas loops without damaging any of the existing equipment.