Researchers from the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Eastern Finland (Kuopio, Finland) and Foster Wheeler (Varkaus, Finland) have developed a vision-based system that can be used to detect unburned fuel in a large-scale biomass-fired boiler.
Combustion of biomass is challenging due to the heterogeneous character of the fuel, which makes monitoring of the process important. Unburned carbon residue is one of the indicators of the inefficiency of the process, since it shows that the combustion has been incomplete.
The system the Finnish researchers developed comprises a camera and a computer in a protective enclosure that captures images from the combustion process. The images are then analyzed and an index which indicates the amount of unburned carbon in the bottom ash conveyor of the biomass-fired boiler is calculated.
The researchers say that the current material cost of the system, which consists mainly of the price of the camera, would be around 500 Euros, making the system an economically competitive option for industrial process monitoring.
The researchers presented a paper detailing the design of the system at the International Conference on Renewable Energies and Power Quality (ICREPQ'12) in Santiago de Compostela in Spain in March this year.
A copy of their paper can be found here.
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-- Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design