DitigalFire: Digitalization of biomass furnaces

Increasing efficiency through automated combustion processes

© Fraunhofer UMSICHT

Digital process monitoring

Even low fuel qualities can be operated efficiently.

Project aims

Biomass combustion plants are to be made more efficient and thus more economical – with the help of digitalization. Digital process monitoring will make it possible in the future to run changing fuel qualities in biomass furnaces with the best possible efficiency. To this end, the control and regulation technology will be combined with digital modules from fuel storage and fuel supply to the combustion chamber and tested in operation.

Benefits

Up to now, such technologies – mainly for cost reasons – only exist in large biomass cogeneration or waste incineration plants. DigitalFire addresses for the first time also firing systems in smaller performance classes (boiler plants or smaller biomass power plants from 100 kW up to 20 MW thermal power).

Most incineration systems are capable of processing lower quality fuels such as forest residues or biogenic residues (e.g. bio- and green waste, crop residues or straw). However, the individual parameters (e.g. fuel supply or ventilation) must be set manually at the furnace. This is the only way to achieve a stable combustion process with high burnout quality of solid matter and gas phase and thus the best possible efficiency. Adjustment is complex and requires a lot of experience or is only possible to a limited extent in some cases; errors lead to higher emissions and, in the worst case, to higher wear with maintenance consequences and downtimes. In contrast, continuous digital process monitoring of the control and regulation technology enables the best possible combustion at all times, both economically and ecologically.

Results

In test operation, data on calorific value, fuel composition and quality, grate temperature and plant condition are first collected. The data is evaluated with the aid of machine learning or artificial neural networks and forms the basis for the automated setting of the optimum firing parameters for the respective fuel. Further display options and warnings of critical plant states are also configured at this time. A user-friendly front-end - for mobile devices, among other things - is to be developed within the framework of the project and the relevant information is to be made available at all times.

Project partner

  • BFAutomation GmbH & Co. KG

Funding
Duration: September 2019 to August 2022
Website: www.bmel.de