Fuel moisture sensor for biomass plants

Emerson Process Management has integrated a fuel moisture sensor into their Ovation control system to allow continuous monitoring of biomass feedstock for moisture content.


Emerson Process Management now offers an integrated solution that enables biomass-fuelled power plants to continually monitor feedstock moisture content and adjust the combustion process for better efficiency. The solution, which combines a biomass fuel moisture sensor with Emerson’s Ovation expert control system, can help reduce maintenance costs as well as boost net yearly MWh production.

Biomass fuels vary considerably in their energy content. Fuel that has high moisture content will generate less heat and will have a significant effect on energy recovery in steam generators. The traditional method of controlling the combustion process is by monitoring the flue gases and adjusting the combustion air to give the best efficiency. However, rapidly changing fuel quality and boiler characteristics can make maintaining optimum conditions difficult.

Emerson’s new integrated solution continuously monitors fuel for moisture content as it is being fed into the combustion chamber. The Ovation system uses this data to adjust the combustion air to match the characteristics of the fuel based on the master set-point output (MWe steam or pressure), boiler response and the thermal cycle overall. This enables the plant to react much more quickly to changes in fuel moisture content, maximizing combustion efficiency.

Suitable for new or existing installations, the system comprises a small skid that takes biomass fuel from the transport system, measures its moisture content using microwave technology and returns it to the transport system. 

The moisture sensor is connected via Ethernet to the Ovation system, providing an input to the boiler and thermal-cycle control logic. The data provided is analyzed to provide fast and accurate information on the temperature and moisture content of the feedstock.

Monitoring and controlling combustion air can dramatically influence profits and costs of boiler operations. Excess oxygen does nothing to improve combustion. Instead, it actually serves to reduce boiler efficiency by absorbing heat that could be used in steam production. Ovation helps to modulate the amount of air in the system to provide the exact amount of air that the system needs, ensuring efficient combustion. 

Emerson Process Management


- See more Control Engineering sensor products.

No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Learn how to create value with re-use; gain productivity with lean automation and connectivity, and optimize panel design and construction.
Machine design tips: Pneumatic or electric; Software upgrades; Ethernet advantages; Additive manufacturing; Engineering Leaders; Product exclusives: PLC, HMI, IO
Industrial wireless cyber security: More complex than black and white; IIoT at the I/O level; Process modeling; Cyber security research
Robotic advances: Software, form factors; System-based ROI; Embedded control; MES and information integration; SCADA and cyber security; Position sensor; Controller, I/O module
Learn how Industry 4.0 adds supply chain efficiency, optimizes pricing, improves quality, and more.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Cyber security attack: The threat is real; Hacking O&G control systems: Understanding the cyber risk; The active cyber defense cycle