Evaluation of upstream and downstream process parameters on electrostatic precipitator performance
New emission legislation regarding air pollution control, as instructed by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) to Eskom Generation Power Stations, implies a particulate emission limit of 100 mg/Nm3 for all existing power stations by 2015 and 50 mg/Nm3 for all new and existing power stations by the year 2020. Some of Eskom’s power stations which are equipped with Electrostatic Precipitators (ESP’s) were not designed for this stringent legislation. It is also experienced that ESP’s and coal quality in Eskom have deteriorated over time, resulting in the performance of the ESP’s not meeting the legislative requirements. Eskom is in the process of introducing various ESP enhancement projects to improve performance and aligning the operating philosophy to comply with the more stringent particulate emission legislation. An ESP efficiency test was conducted at Lethabo Power Station to determine the current state of the plant and performance. The results of the test were compared with the original design base specifications to determine the relevant deficiencies which contribute to high emissions and poor ESP performance. It was aimed to develop an ESP simulation model and validate the outputs with the test data. This study endeavours to demonstrate the greater impact on ESP performance when the ESP is operated outside the design specification. It is further aimed to demonstrate that a solution to the problem of high emissions is not only contributed by the variables within the ESP itself. This study is a coal to stack evaluation considering the ESP variables and the upstream conditions of the ESP that form part of the entire process. The intention of this study is to demonstrate the importance of operating an ESP at the designed parameters and highlight the significance of proper maintenance. It was learned that before any ESP enhancement technology can be implemented, the ESP and upstream conditions must be in accordance with design specifications. The implementation of an ESP enhancement technology will have no merit or justification on a unit that is being operated outside of its design specifications. The results obtained from the ESP simulation model correlated well with the ESP efficiency test data. The expectation of the model to assist operators and engineers to operate ESP’s according to the designer’s specifications was conceded.
- Engineering