Effect of mineral oxides on slag formation tendency of mae moh lignites

Anuwat Luxsanayotin, Suneerat Pipatmanomai, Sankar Bhattacharya

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Slagging is one of major ash deposition problems experienced in the boilers of coal-fired power plants especially the plants that use lignite, like Mae Moh lignites. The occurrence of slag is a complex phenomenon depending on several factors such as ash properties, furnace operating conditions, and coal properties. The main objective of this work is to study the effect of mineral components in Mae Moh lignite on ash fusion temperatures (AFTs), which is commonly used as a key indicator for slag formation tendency under pulverized combustion conditions. Two Mae Moh lignites from the coal seams planned to be used in the future were selected for the study to represent low CaO and high CaO lignite. The two lignites, namely K1 and K3, have 3.6 and 40.4 wt% CaO in ash, respectively. The AFT characterization shows that their initial deformation temperatures (ITs) were almost identical and considered as low for the typical flue gas temperature in the radiation section of Mae Moh boilers, i.e. 1050-1100°C. These observed similar ITs were rather unexpected, especially for K1 considering its sufficiently low base to acid (B/A) ratios. The X-ray diffraction analyses evidently show the presence of illite, pyrite and anhydrite in K1, which explains the observed lower IT of the sample. Anhydrite, which is known to lower the ITs, is also the most abundant mineral in K3. Washing the lignite samples with HCl can significantly reduce CaO, MgO, and SO3 content in the ash but not Fe2O3 as it is present in the form of pyrite. The addition of Al2O3, SiO2 and Fe2O3 can help increase AFTs of the studied samples. The Al2O3 addition gives the strongest effect on increasing AFTs, especially for the sample with low Al2O3 content. When the CaO is added to the low CaO samples, the fluxing effect will initially occur. However, when the CaO content is higher than a critical value (i.e. CaO > 38%), the effect of its high melting point will dominate hence the AFTs increased. Ternary phase diagrams of CaO-SiO2-Al2O3 and Fe2O3-SiO2-Al2O3 system were constructed based on the obtained ash composition and IT data to investigate the effect of SiO2/Al2O3 ratio and basic oxide composition (CaO or Fe2O3). The upper limit of the ITs measured from lignites supplied to the power plant during the severe slagging period, i.e. 1220°C, was used as a rough indication of slag formation propensity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-412
Number of pages10
JournalSongklanakarin Journal of Science and Technology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Ash fusion temperature
  • Combustion
  • Lignite
  • Pf boiler
  • Slag

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