Sampling in biomass power plants

Timo Huotari, Prometec


Prometec is a Finnish technology company that manufactures automated comprehensive sampling systems for biomass users. Currently, Prometec’s sampler is collecting samples from over 60 000 truckloads and 12 000 train wagon containers annually. Prometec’s goal in BIOFMET is to show that the automated sampler, designed and manufactured by Prometec, fulfills present sampling and sample handling standards. Furthermore, Prometec delivers new aspects to biomass sampling by mirroring them to present standards.

A report related to "Sampling and sample handling strategies" was made covering the present sampling and sample handling methods. In the report, there are pros and cons of the methods and also suggestions on how to solve solid biofuel quality controlling issues.

Tests with Q-Robot at two different sites with two similar Q-Robots have been made at Kuopion Energia and Kainuun Voima sites. The idea is to test for existing samplers to find out the reliability of automated sampling which design is based on biomass class P100 requirements.

A comparative study carried out by VTT (Technical Research Centre of Finland) was made at Kuopio Energy’s power plant. For five days, samples from different types of biofuel loads were collected in both ways, with a Q-robot and manually by VTT. Load-specific samples were taken daily from all loads delivered during the 10-hour test period. Samples for the comparison were collected from a total of 59 loads, and moisture and particle size analyses were made.

A comparative study was made at the Kainuun Voima power plant in Kajaani. Samples from different types of biofuel loads were collected in three ways, with a Q-robot, manually by standard EN ISO 18135: 2017 and by a truck driver (which is a common way to take samples in Finland). Samples for the comparison were collected from a total of 24 loads, and moisture and particle size analyses were made.

DTI analysed the results of the research. The conclusion was that the samples collected by the Q-Robot and by standards manual sampling method matched together. There were no systematic differences in moisture between the different sampling methods, so it can be concluded that the Q-robot meets the requirements of the sampling standard.

In the particle size analysis, there was no overall significant difference between the particle sizes in samples obtained using the standard manual method and samples obtained using the Q-robot.

There are significant differences between particle sizes, especially small particles when comparing the Q-robot to samples obtained by the truck driver. The research showed that sampling by the driver does not always meet the requirements of standard sampling.

 

Figure 1. Q-robot. 

 

Figure 2. Q-robot and truck that delivers the biomass to the power plant.

 

Figure 3. Manual sampling of biomass.

Check here a video from Prometec about Q-Robot.