The need to understand variations in the performance of an electrostatic precipitator, in order to remain in compliance with the regulations whatever coal is burned, leads us to place at the disposal of the operator a user-friendly expert investigation tool based on a complete description of the phenomena involved during the dust collection.
The code used, obtained from much work in universities, calculates the dust collection efficiency per size class, as a function of the inlet velocity distribution and the ESP operating conditions. Before this code can be used on any industrial site, two actions must be taken : the performance of a 'blind' validation test on a 250 MW plant and the reduction of code calculation time to fulfil the operator's requirements.
To test the code, a one-day test was performed on a recently renovated ESP. A limited number of data (gas flow rate, inlet dust concentration and size distribution, ESP geometry, voltage) was provided to permit the efficiency calculation. The values calculated by the software were then compared with the values measured : secondary current intensity, outlet dust concentration and size distribution. The comparison between the calculations and measurements shows a difference of less than 15% for the majority of these variables.