Combustion optimisation

Mike Andrews, OEN Enterprises


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Published in:

Energy Efficiency Made Simple Vol III: Energy and enviroFiciency

November 2012 - Chapter 6: pages 78 – 80

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South African (SA) coal users have very little choice but to use inferior coals that are often not suitable for achieving optimal results in specific applications, including power and steam boilers, grate-fired boilers and furnaces, waste furnaces and rotary kilns.



Optimisation of coal-based combustion processes can no longer be achieved through the simple application of manufacturer’s operating instructions that were based on burning high quality coal. Operators need to understand the unique combustion characteristics of SA coals and combine this with online monitoring that will enable them to use specific boiler control strategies in order to optimise their processes.


Take note

  • Many coal combustion problems in South Africa are exacerbated by variable fuel quality, especially when the coal is sourced from different suppliers, mines and seams.
  • In the past, very little attention has been paid to the optimisation of coal-fired combustion processes because of the low cost and abundance of the resource.
  • Standard operating procedures may not adequately deal with such issues that are associated with the unique characteristics of South African coals.