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Apcs - automatic pipe cleaning system and its smoke cleaning system

Development of new and innovative methods for improving fire tube boiler efficiency automatically and in-line cleaning of the tubes and cleaning of high temperature smoke.

Since more than a century, the steam boiler, symbol of the industrial revolution, is the most widely spread and applied way of generating energy. Worldwide approximately 3 million boilers are operational. The basic principle of the steam boiler has not changed since its invention: the heat of hot gases is transferred to water, the water evaporates to steam and the steam is used to generate heat or power. MAGUIN S.A.S. and THE NETHERLANDS Arnhem based company OPTIMUM are developing together two innovative systems to improve fire tube boiler efficiency. The first is called APCS (Automatic Pipe Cleaning System) which will continuously monitor the performance of a boiler and depending on certain process parameters, automatically start a cleaning cycle. The second is an innovative filtering system that will enable filtering of high temperature gases up to 350 degrees Celsius to obtain clean gas discharge. The innovations improve the total operation of the boiler system significantly in terms of heat efficiency, down-time and labour intensity. In general there are two kinds of steam boilers, the fire tube boiler and the water tube boiler. In a fire tube boiler, the hot gases are led through the tubes and their heat is transferred to the water around the tubes. In a water tube boiler the principle is exactly the opposite. The water tube boiler is a more expensive concept and is applied in case of higher pressure (over 35 bar) as well as in situations where such a fouling of the tubes is expected that a fire tube boiler would need excessive cleaning. The aim of the project is to obtain a fire tube boiler as efficient as a water tube boiler at a lower cost. The cleaning of the heating surfaces of steam boilers or heat exchangers is done in many ways but also in this respect, there have not been that many revolutionary changes in contrast to the long steam boiler's history. Many blower systems were developed to clean the tubes by means of air pulses and for the water tube boiler a ball rain device was developed. In a ball rain device, metal bullets hit the tubes, thus causing the fouling (particles) to let loose and fall off the tubes. These cleaning devices can be used while the boiler is in operation. Until recently the cleaning of a fire tube boiler was done manually and only while the boiler was out of operation. In such manual cleaning operations a long stick with a brush on the far end is used to scrape the tubes one by one. At the same time, production loss occurs since the boiler has to be taken out of operation. Moreover, before the boiler is taken out of operation, it already looses a substantial part of its efficiency due to the increased fouling on the inside of the tubes. The degree to which tubes are fouled obviously depends on the fuel that is used for the boiler. In cases where heavy oils or solid fuels (biomass, coals, industrial waste, etc.) are used, substantial fouling problems occur. The APCS to be developed by OPTIMUM and MAGUIN will enable end users to clean their fire tube boilers when they are still in operation and without the need for manual cleaning. The high temperature filter to be developed by MAGUIN will limit fresh air additions and the higher hot gases flow rate will improve the overall efficiency of the system. Keywords: Automatic Pipe Cleaning System (APCS)
Acronym: 
APCS
Project ID: 
3 237
Start date: 
01-10-2003
Project Duration: 
18months
Project costs: 
770 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Cleaning Technology
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.