STORM Resources

Recent Newsletters

power plant performance testingClick Here to Read!

April 2023 - Testing Efficiency Improvement with SOAR System 

With emission limits growing ever tighter, efficient combustion is a necessity for most boilers to meet these lower limits. Well-tuned units are achievable when all equipment is kept in good operational condition. Many plants face a variety of tuning challenges, and it is important to keep the boilers operating efficiently and reliably. This becomes even more of a challenge when once base-loaded plants are required to chase load demand due to the increase of renewable power on the grid. When it comes to combustion tuning, STORM’s automated flue gas sampling system is a great tool. It allows for more firing combinations and tuning adjustments to be made and tested in shorter timespans over the traditional manual traverses of the flue gas after the furnace exit. What does this mean for you and your plant? With the improvement in testing efficiency, your dollars spent on testing go further. Our SOAR system allows for more testing to be done with fewer testing personnel, thus allowing for more tuning adjustments and combustion improvement opportunities for less money.

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March 2023 - “Shock Wave” Impulse Cleaning Device Case Study 

Storm Technologies, Inc. has teamed up with PowerPlus Cleaning Systems to provide IMPULSE® cleaning technology to our customers in the utility and industrial industries. The impulse cleaner is an inexpensive, low-maintenance system that generates a “shock wave” by completing the combustion of ethylene gas.  The system was originally made to improve the cleaning effectiveness of standard sonic or acoustic horns and has been utilized for cleaning since 2006.  From PowerPlus’ experience and what we have seen firsthand, the system works best in the convection pass versus a radiant section where a molten, sticky, or “runny” slag may be present in many industrial/utility boiler arrangements.

fabrication capabilitiesClick Here to Read!

Feb. 2023 - Storm's Fabrication Capabilities And Outage Support 

Storm Technologies, Inc. is more than just testing crews pushing a probe in a boiler or pulling coal samples out of fuel lines.  We have the experience and the abilities to offer resourceful solutions from engineering, design, and fabrication to technical direction, testing, and tuning services for all general boiler and combustion system components. What begins as a conceptual design, often becomes cost-effective RESULTS for our customers.  We are fully committed to our mantra "QUALITY, SERVICE, RESULTS" and we are driven to all of our customers' needs, from concept to completion.

power plant performance testingClick Here to Read!

Jan. 2023 - Periodic Monitoring can Prevent Forced Outages During Peak Demand

Storm Technologies, Inc. has long been an advocate for performance-driven maintenance programs. By conducting routine performance testing on the coal pulverizers and boilers, small problems can be identified and often addressed before they potentially cause the unit to be derated or even worse, forced into an unplanned outage. These unplanned forced outages often come during peak power demand periods when the price per MW is high and desired for the boiler to be operated at maximum capacity with a “hands-off” operating policy.

pulverizerClick Here to Read!In Part II of this two-part newsletter, we are highlighting two more common concerns that plants often face. The first being the rotating throat geometry. As stated in Part I of this series, Storm’s experience has been that 7,000 ft/min velocities must be maintained at the throat to keep raw coal from spilling through the throat. The second point that we will cover in this article is something that over the past ten years seems to have been at the forefront of most pulverized coal plants, and that is changing coal quality. Many plants have been fighting to stay competitive with the addition of natural gas combined cycles and the influx of renewables into the energy market. One of the easiest ways to cut the total operating cost of the plant is to switch to a lower-cost fuel; however, this can come with an array of new challenges; one of them being mill puffs.

pulverizerClick Here to Read!
It is too late to conduct preventative primary airflow calibrations or internal mill once a pulverizer puff has occurred. Storm Technologies, Inc. has been a proponent of quarterly testing programs since the company was founded in 1992. While most plants do not conduct testing this frequently, plants that do complete this testing along with performance inspections on an annual basis are much more likely to not experience a mill puff that is related to poor airflow control, throat geometry, or even a change in fuels. In this two-part technical newsletter series, we are providing several examples where these variables can cause or have caused puffs to occur.

The air heater is the last heat trap in most utility boiler systems. Once flue gas passes through the air heater it is rejected out of the stack, in most systems. Dry gas losses, which is any remaining heat in the flue gas, is lost energy, which reduces the boiler efficiency/heat rate. Dry gas losses account for the largest losses in PTC 4.0 boiler efficiency testing. Air heater performance is directly impacted by the conditions in which it operates including flow rates, entering temperatures, and pressures.
Air heater performance is typically evaluated by these factors:
  • Air In-Leakage
  • Corrected Gas Outlet Temperature
  • X-Ratio
  • Gas Side Efficiency
  • Pressure Drop

Most boilers are equipped with tube metal thermocouples installed on the terminal superheater and reheater tubes and provide an indication of the final metal temperatures of the selected tubes. This is important because metals, just like most other materials when heated, have properties that begin to change and, therefore, knowing your metal’s limitations is important.  This newsletter will address the common questions of:

  1. How hot is too hot for your tubes?
  2. What kind of reduction in tube life can be expected if the tubes are operated above design temperatures?
  3. How can we prevent elevated tube metal temperatures?

This is a follow-up to our June Newsletter which focused on combustion airflow measurement and balance. Fuel Balance and fineness are also important for optimum combustion, best heat rate, fuel flexibility, minimal slagging, best NOx performance and more. If one were to take a look at Storm’s 13 Essentials for achieving optimum combustion in pulverized coal boilers, 9 of the 13  essentials are fuel related. We hope that you appreciate it and find it useful.

Storm Technologies has been solving difficult combustion problems for many years. We thought that sharing some of our experiences and case studies would be helpful to those of you working in the utility industry. Some of these same issues that we have identified and made corrections to are certain to still be challenges today. This is the first newsletter of a series that uses data and experiences from the last three decades. Most of the figures used are slides from our “Large Utility Boiler Combustion and Performance Improvements” seminar. We hope that you appreciate it and find it useful.

In our last newsletter, pt. 1 explored the limitations in emissions and obstacles in furnace performance in extremely low load operations. This time, we look at low load impacts on the pulverizers and the solid fuel injection system. This covers primary air flow and velocities and potential damage to out of service burners and their components...

Most large-scale coal utility boilers were not designed to run at less than 75% MCR for extended periods, but as other sources become more prevalent, these units now have to run lower than ever before. To make matters even more difficult, they have to be ready to achieve MCR at, literally, a change in the weather. This presents new challenges to operations. In Part 1 of an ongoing series, we begin to explore how to manage a unit’s performance at low load operation and minimize its vulnerability in the ever-changing power market!

Specialized Resources

May 2022 Newsletter - "Pulverizer Puffs - Part 2"
April 2022 Newsletter - "Pulverizer Puffs - Part 1"
Aug. 2016 Newsletter - "Would you like to better utilize your outage resources
Dec. 2015 Article - Power Magazine: "Coal Pulverizer Maintenance Improves Boiler Combustion"
Oct. 2015 Newsletter - "Diagnosing Pulverizer Problems"
Aug. 2014 Newsletter - "The Storm Approach to Achieving Optimization Pulverizer Performance"
Mar. 2013 Newsletter - "Three Tips on Applying Performance Driven Maintenance"
Nov. 2012 Newsletter - "Performance Driven Maintenance for Pulverized Coal Fueled Plants"
Aug. 2012 Newsletter - "A Test is Worth a Thousand Words" Performance Driven Maintenance is the Solution"
Apr. 2012 Newsletter - "Maintenance vs. Manpower"
May. 2011 Newsletter - "Pulverizers 101: Part 3"
Apr. 2011 Newsletter - "Pulverizers 101: Part 2"
Apr. 2011 Newsletter - "Pulverizers 101: Part 1"
July 2010 Newsletter - "Invest Maintenance Dollars Wisely
Oct. 2010 Article - Coal Power Magazine: "Pulverized Coal Pipe Testing and Balancing"
Apr. 2010 Newsletter - "The Devil is in the Details"
Oct. 2009 Article - Power Magazine: "Measuring Coal Pipe Flow"
Mar. 2009 Article - Power Magazine: "Blueprint Your Pulverizer"
Oct. 2008 Article - Power Magazine: "Finessing Fuel Fineness"
June 2008 Article - Power Magazine: "Boiler Optimization Increases Fuel Flexibility"
Mar. 2008 Article - World Coal Magazine: "Quality Counts"
Feb. 2007 Article - Power Magazine: "To Optimize Performance, Begin at the Pulverizers"
Sep. 2006 Article - World Coal Magazine: "Crush It, Pulverize It and Burn It"

Sept. 2020 Newsletter - "Ignoring the fundamentals of combustion can and will impact the life of your superheater and reheater"
Apr. 2020 Newsletter - "STORM Approach to Reliability"
Aug. 2016 Newsletter - "Would You Like to Better Utilize Your Outage Resources"
Dec. 2015 Article - Power Magazine: "Coal Pulverizer Maintenance Improves Boiler Combustion"
June 2015 Article - Power Magazine: "Typical Causes of Slagging and Fouling Problems in Boilers"
July 2015 Newsletter - "Large Utility Boiler Design Considerations for Cycling and Low Load Operation"
Mar. 2015 Newsletter - "Cycling of Large Utility Boilers, Some Thoughts to Consider"
Jan. 2014 Newsletter - "Is Your Plant Ready For MATS/MACT in 2014-2015?"
July 2013 Article - World Coal: "Why Remembering the Fundamentals Can Yield Cost-Effective Results in Coal Combustion"
May 2013 Newsletter - "Coal Fired Boiler Optimization and the Impact on Emission Control Devices"
Mar. 2013 Newsletter - "Three Tips on Applying Performance Driven Maintenance"
Aug. 2012 Newsletter - "A Test is Worth a Thousand Words" Performance Driven Maintenance is the Solution"
June 2012 Newsletter - "Yes, There is a War on Coal! But Somebody has to keep the lights on!"
Mar. 2011 Newsletter - "Meeting MACT Compliance"
Nov. 2010 Article - Coalblog: "The Benefits of Applying the Fundamentals"
June 2010 Newsletter - "How to Achieve High Load Factor"
June 2010 Newsletter - "The Story Behind the STORM Fan Boosted Overfire Air System"
Dec. 2009 Newsletter - "#1 Controllable Stealth Loss - Boiler Air In-Leakage"
Aug. 2009 Newsletter - "The Impact of Furnace Performance on the Reliability of Superheater and Reheater Metals"
Dec. 2008 Article - Power Magazine: "Getting the Most From Boilers, Industrial Fuels"
Oct. 2008 Article - Power Magazine: "Finessing Fuel Fineness"
June 2008 Article - Power Magazine: "Boiler Optimization Increases Fuel Flexibility"
Mar. 2008 Article - World Coal Magazine: "Quality Counts"
Feb. 2007 Article - Power Magazine: "To Optimize Performance, Begin at the Pulverizers"
Oct. 2006 Article - Power Magazine: "Apply the Fundamentals to Improve Emissions Performance"
Mar. 2005 Article - Power Magazine: "How stealth combustion losses lower plant efficiency"

Published Articles

Technical Papers & Presentations

Oct. 2009PowerGEN Asia 2009 - "An Update on Performance Optimization and Efficiency Improvement Programs..."
Feb. 2009EPRI Heat Rate Conference 2009 - "The Unintended Consequences of New Source Review (NSR). Imagine What the Utility Industry Could do without NSR"
Nov. 20082nd Annual Illinois Basin Coal Symposium - "Combustion Optimization by Application of the Fundamentals as it Relates to Illinois Basin Coal"
Oct. 2008American Coal Council - "Enhancing Public Perception of Coal"
Jul. 20082008 Fuel Flexibility Conference - "Maximizing Plant Performance"
May 2008ASME International Electric Power Conference 2008 - "The Extreme Importance of Total Air & Fuel Flow Measurement on a 450MW B&W Wall Fired Unit Firing High Sulfur Fuels"
Mar. 2006ASME International Electric Power Conference 2006 - "A Case Study of How Vertical Spindle Pulverizer Performance is Related to Overall Plant Performance"
Mar. 2006ASME International Electric Power Conference 2006 - " Achieving Simultaneous NOx and Combustion Improvements on a 90MW T-Fired Unit by Applying the Fundamentals"
Apr. 2005ASME International Electric Power Conference 2005  - " A Comprehensive Approach to NOx Reduction without Low NOx Burners"
Oct.. 2003International Conference on Thermal Power Generation - " Practical Diagnostic Tests to Identify Opportunities to Improve Heat Rate, Reliability, and Capacity Variables "
Apr. 2003EPRI Conference 2003 - " Optimizing Performance by Applying the Fundamentals"
Jun. 2002International Joint Power Generation Conference - "Performance Improvements at the Boardman Coal Plant as a Result of Testing and Input/Loss Monitoring"