A newly developed system from Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems which aims to automate combustion tuning in boilers using artificial intelligence has undergone verification testing in Taiwan. It has demonstrated a level of performance, says MHPS, that are comparable to those that could be achieved by a highly experienced engineer. The system was installed at Taiwan Power Company's Linkou Thermal Power Plant (pictured) and verification was carried out on-site.
The automated boiler combustion adjustment system is a core element of a comprehensive system, currently under development, that will eventually enable AI-controlled operation of thermal power plants. The latest test results mean development can now proceed toward further advances, including improvements to the system's precision and expansion of its applicable functions.
MHPS is developing AI-based boiler control systems to support power companies globally. By analysing the large volumes of complex digital data acquired during boiler operation, these systems can provide a range of functions such as cost optimisation (operating costs, maintenance management costs, etc.) and early detection of anomalies.
Prior to the current verification testing programme, MHPS had provided power generation equipment to the Linkou Thermal Power Plant, overseeing delivery of three sets of coal-fired supercritical-pressure boilers and steam turbines with outputs of 800 MW each. The first set has started commercial operation, and the second is scheduled to go into service in spring 2017.
In conventional  testing of combustion systems, a variety of processes is optimised by adjusting parameters such as flue-gas emission characteristics, combustion balance, steam temperature characteristics, and boiler efficiency, and set by an experienced engineer. During the recently completed verification testing in Taiwan, an AI system that had learned changes in process values was called on to propose the optimal parameters. The results confirmed that the system proposed parameters essentially no different from those set by an experienced engineer, and the various process values were well-balanced.
MHPS will continue to enhance the AI-based combustion tuning system at the Linkou plant. It will also apply the results obtained through the verification testing programme in Taiwan to MHPS’ digital solutions portfolio, for future proposals to other potential users.