Environment-friendly Swedish sootblowing method produces major energy benefits

If this new sootblowing technology were installed in all coal-fired CHP plants in Europe, output would increase by 8,300 gigawatt hours. Converted into carbon dioxide emissions, that’s equivalent to 7.5 million tonnes. The technology is also easy to install in both new and existing CHP plants.

Gothenburg-based innovation company SootTech, working together with Chalmers Innovation and the Swedish Energy Agency, has developed a new soot-blowing method for CHP plants. This new technology makes it possible to increase output by one per cent, which produces very significant benefits – up to 8,300 gigawatt hours (GWh), corresponding to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of up to 7.5 million tonnes in Europé alone. Applied to the whole world, this effect is increased tenfold.

“We’re facing a major challenge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil energy. We need a number of innovative energy solutions to manage this transition. What makes SootTech’s technology so attractive is that it’s possible to make a rapid impact on emissions for modest funds. And as the technology can be applied in existing plants, the global potential is very big indeed,” says Mikael Fjällström, Head of the Business Development Unit at the Swedish Energy Agency.

A simple measure has a major impact SootTech’s new method is called steam-synchronised sootblowing, which means that the sootblowers work in harmony rather than separately, making the boiler-cleaning process twice as fast and trouble-free. And instead of working both on the way in and out, they simply work on the way into the boiler. This means that cleaning doesn’t disrupt the actual operations, and the cost of energy is halved. As the cost of sootblowing is lower and disruption is reduced, the boiler can be cleaned of soot more often and efficiency is kept at a high level. Other important benefits of the technology are that fuel that is difficult to burn, such as recycled wood chips and bio-waste, can be used in existing plants.

Installation is uncomplicated as there is no need to convert or do large retrofit of the boiler. Put simply, it involves installing a control and regulating unit on the existing soot-blowing devices.

 

Major potential both in Sweden and world-wide

SootTech has a method patent for its new technology, and Erik Dahlén feels there is vast potential for both the method and the company:

“The technology is simple and relatively cheap to install, and pays for itself after only one year’s operation. Furthermore, it can be installed on virtually any boiler at all, although the greatest environmental gains are where fossil fuels are used. The market for upgrading existing boilers is very large, even though there are no precise figures. And new ones are being built at a rapid pace, with two coal-fired power plants being built every week in China alone.”

“Of course, it’s both desirable and necessary to continue to develop other ways of producing electricity and heating than using fossil fuels,” says Erik Dahlén. “But at present there are large numbers of CHP plants all over the world being powered by fossil fuels, and they will be continuing to operate for the foreseeable future. It’s a matter of reducing their environmental impact as far as possible, and our technology is one element of that work.”

“If we’re to meet this challenge, we need to enhance our global presence with more strong partners. At the moment we’re fully occupied with the Swedish and Nordic markets,” says Erik Dahlén.

 

SootTech is an innovation company that was founded in 2007 by Erik Dahlén and Chalmers Innovation.

The company develops and sells solutions for more efficient sootblowing of recovery boilers in pulp mills and CHP boilers. SootTech is now considered a leading company in the fields of industrial Cleantech and technology for more efficient power generation.

The method is known as the High Impact Soot System (HISS) and is based on SootTech’s method patent.

The technology increases the efficiency of plants, reduces fuel consumption and facilitates the effective combustion of more difficult fuels such as bio-fuels and recycled fuels. It can be used in existing power plants and allow a faster transition to alternative fuels, with no investments in new power plants and energy systems.