High temperature corrosion in a biomass-fired power boiler : Reducing furnace wall corrosion in a waste wood-fired power plant with advanced steam data

Sammanfattning: The use of waste (or recycled) wood as a fuel in heat and power stations is becoming more widespread in Sweden (and Europe), because it is CO2 neutral with a lower cost than forest fuel. However, it is a heterogeneous fuel with a high amount of chlorine, alkali and heavy metals which causes more corrosion than fossil fuels or forest fuel.A part of the boiler which is subjected to a high corrosion risk is the furnace wall (or waterwall) which is formed of tubes welded together. Waterwalls are made of ferritic low-alloyed steels, due to their low price, low stress corrosion cracking risk, high heat transfer properties and low thermal expansion. However, ferritic low alloy steels corrode quickly when burning waste wood in a low NOx environment (i.e. an environment with low oxygen levels to limit the formation of NOx). Apart from pure oxidation two important forms of corrosion mechanisms are thought to occur in waste environments: chlorine corrosion and alkali corrosion.Although there is a great interest from plant owners to reduce the costs associated with furnace wall corrosion very little has been reported on wall corrosion in biomass boilers. Also corrosion mechanisms on furnace walls are usually investigated in laboratories, where interpretation of the results is easier. In power plants the interpretation is more complicated. Difficulties in the study of corrosion mechanisms are caused by several factors such as deposit composition, flue gas flow, boiler design, combustion characteristics and flue gas composition. Therefore, the corrosion varies from plant to plant and the laboratory experiments should be complemented with field tests. The present project may thus contribute to fill the power plant corrosion research gap.In this work, different kinds of samples (wall deposits, test panel tubes and corrosion probes) from Vattenfall’s Heat and Power plant in Nyköping were analysed. Coated and uncoated samples with different alloys and different times of exposure were studied by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive x-ray analysis (EDX), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and light optical microscopy (LOM). The corrosive environment was also simulated by Thermo-Calc software.The results showed that a nickel alloy coating can dramatically reduce the corrosion rate. The corrosion rate of the low alloy steel tubes, steel 16Mo3, was linear and the oxide scale non-protective, but the corrosion rate of the nickel-based alloy was probably parabolic and the oxide much more protective. The nickel alloy and stainless steels showed good corrosion protection behavior in the boiler. This indicates that stainless steels could be a good (and less expensive) alternative to nickel-based alloys for protecting furnace walls.The nickel alloy coated tubes (and probe samples) were attacked by a potassium-lead combination leading to the formation of non-protective potassium lead chromate. The low alloy steel tubes corroded by chloride attack. Stainless steels were attacked by a combination of chlorides and potassium-lead.The Thermo-Calc modelling showed chlorine gas exists at extremely low levels (less than 0.1 ppm) at the tube surface; instead the hydrated form is thermodynamically favoured, i.e. gaseous hydrogen chloride. Consequently chlorine can attack low alloy steels by gaseous hydrogen chloride rather than chlorine gas as previously proposed. This is a smaller molecule than chlorine which could easily diffuse through a defect oxide of the type formed on the steel.