SEM Investigation of Superheater Deposits from Biomass-Fired Boilers

Peter Arendt Jensen, Flemming Frandsen, Jørn Hansen, Kim Dam-Johansen, Niels Henriksen, Steffen Hørlyck

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Straw is used as fuel in relatively small-scale combined heat and power producing (CHP) grate boilers in Denmark. The large content of potassium and chlorine in straw greatly increases the deposit formation and corrosion of the superheater coils, compared to boilers firing coal. In this study, mature superheater deposit samples were extracted from two straw-fired boilers, Masnedø and Ensted, with fuel inputs of 33 MWth and 100 MWth, respectively. SEM (scanning electron microscopy) images and EDX (energy dispersive X-ray) analyses were performed on the deposit samples. Different strategies are adopted to minimize deposit problems at the two boilers. At Masnedø the final superheater steam temperature is 520 °C, no soot blowing of the superheaters
is applied and a relatively large superheater area is used. At Ensted, an external wood-fired superheater is used in order to obtain a final steam temperature of 542 °C, while the steam exit temperature of the straw-fired boiler is 470 °C. The mature Masnedø deposit had a thickness of 2 to 15 centimeters and consisted of three distinct main layers. The thick intermediate layer was depleted in chlorine but rich in Si, K, and Ca. This Masnedø intermediate layer was probably
generated by in-situ reaction between KCl and Si-rich ash particles, which leads to release of chlorine-containing gases. The innermost layer contained many sublayers of mainly iron oxide, KCl, and K2SO4. The Ensted deposit had a maximum thickness of a few centimeters. The intermediate Ensted layer consisted of melted KCl with inclusions of Ca- and Si-rich particles, and the innermost layer was an iron oxide next to a potassium sulfate layer. Compared to deposits formed on a probe during short-time experiments, the mature superheater deposits contained larger dense inner sublayers of pure KCl and K2SO4. The present study indicates that the innermost layer of the superheater deposits expands by condensation of KCl, even when the deposit has a thickness of several centimeters.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnergy & Fuels
Pages (from-to)378-384
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'SEM Investigation of Superheater Deposits from Biomass-Fired Boilers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this