The use of renewable wood-based fuel has been increasing in the last few decades because it is said to be carbon neutral. However, wood-based fuel, and especially used wood (also known as recycled wood or waste wood), is more corrosive than virgin wood (forest fuel), because of higher amounts of chlorine and heavy metals. These elements increase the corrosion problems at the furnace walls where the oxygen level is low.
Corrosion mechanisms are usually investigated at the superheaters where the temperature of the material and the oxygen level is higher than at the furnace walls. Much less work has been performed on furnace wall corrosion in wood or used wood fired boilers, which is the reason for this project. Tests are also mostly performed under simplified conditions in laboratories, making the results easier to interpret. In power plants the interpretation is more complicated. Difficulties in the study of corrosion processes are caused by several factors such as deposit composition, flue gas composition, boiler design, and combustion characteristics and so on. Therefore, the laboratory tests should be a complement to the field test ones. This doctoral project involved in-situ testing at the furnace wall of power boilers and may thus contribute to fill the gap.
The base material for furnace walls is a low alloy steel, usually 16Mo3, and the tubes may be coated or uncoated. Therefore tests were performed both on 16Mo3 and more highly alloyed materials suitable for protective coatings.
Different types of samples exposed in used-wood fired boilers were analysed by different techniques such as LOM (light optical microscopy), XRD (X-ray diffraction), SEM (scanning electron microscopy), EDS (energy dispersive spectroscopy), WDS (wavelength dispersive spectroscopy), FIB (focused ion beam) and GD-OES (glow discharge optical emission spectroscopy). The corrosion rate was measured. The environment was also thermodynamically modelled by TC (Thermo-Calc ®).
The results showed that 16Mo3 in the furnace wall region is attacked by HCl, leading to the formation of iron chloride and a simultaneous oxidation of the iron chloride. The iron chloride layer appeared to reach a steady state thickness.
Long term exposures showed that A 625 (nickel chromium alloy) and Kanthal APMT (iron-chromium-aluminium alloy) had the lowest corrosion rate (about 25-30% of the rate for 16Mo3), closely followed by 310S (stainless steel), making these alloys suitable for coating materials. It was found that the different alloys were attacked by different species, although they were exposed in the boiler at the same time in the same place. The dominant corrosion process in the A 625 samples seemed to be by a potassium-lead combination, while lead did not attack the APMT samples. Potassium attacked the alumina layer in the APMT samples, leading to the formation of a low-protective aluminate and chlorine was found to attack the base material. The results showed that stainless steels are attacked by both mechanisms (Cl- induced attack and K-Pb combination).
Decreasing the temperature of the furnace walls of a waste wood fired boiler could decrease the corrosion rate of 16Mo3. However, this low corrosion rate corresponds to a low final steam pressure of the power plant, which in not beneficial for the electrical efficiency.
The short term testing results showed that co-firing of sewage sludge with used wood can lead to a reduction in the deposition of K and Cl on the furnace wall during short term testing. This led to corrosion reduction of furnace wall materials and coatings. The alkali chlorides could react with the aluminosilicates in the sludge and be converted to alkali silicates. The chromia layer in A 625 and alumina in APMT were maintained with the addition of sludge.