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Leonid Lushkevich

Developer of an innovative online detonation cleaning device - SootGone™. Founder, Owner, and CEO at LeonPulseLtd.

Februar 5, 2023

What is the Right Choice of Online Soot Cleaning Devices for Industrial Steam Boilers and Furnaces?


If you want to answer this question and rate the online soot cleaning devices you will obviously take into consideration the following factors: 


  • cleaning efficiency;

  • harmlessness for the boiler;

  • installation and capital  cost;

  • reliability i.e., minimal maintenance with a minimum number of spare parts;

  • operation and maintenance cost;

  • payback period.

Currently, there are several types of well-known online soot cleaning technologies on the market:

► Air Soot Blower

> The cleaning efficiency is average compared to other cleaning technologies. In order to achieve sufficient kinetic energy, i.e. peak impact pressure, with       subsequent cleaning effect, blowers must be operated with high pressure air.

> Air Soot Blowers are characterized by high capital costs - mainly due to high-pressure compressor purchasing. 

> The high-pressure compressed air is the main reason for the high operation cost of air soot blowers. Normally, the annual consumption of electricity by high-pressure compressors reaches more than $1,000,000. The high-power pressure compressors cannot easily be shut off, and have to throttle high-pressure air down to the low-pressure instrument air. This is very inefficient compared to the operation cost of low-pressure compressors dedicated to low-air-pressure plant utilities.

> Compressors are complex devices with associated costly maintenance.

> The positive point is that this technology is harmless to the boiler.

►► Steam Soot Blowers

> Steam Soot Blowers are widely used despite their relatively low cleaning efficiency, especially when cleaning tube bundles: steam soot-blowing technology is not able to clean thoroughly through tube bundles since it is restricted to line-of-sight cleaning.

    The steam jets produced by steam soot blowers clean the first two or three tube rows of the bundle only and are not able to penetrate inside the tube bank with intensive cleaning effect. These cleaning limitations are inherent in steam soot blowers. Besides, the velocity of steam jets is low and cannot provide the necessary peak impact pressure for effective cleaning. 

> Steam Soot Blowers are also characterized by low reliability, high capital costs, installation and maintenance costs. The cost of operating steam soot blowers, as well as air soot blowers, is very high.

 > The drawback of using steam jets is the tube erosion and corrosion inside the boiler. Leaks in tubes and destruction of refractories are common consequences of steam soot blowers' operation.

    Since steam blowers cause damage to the boiler and operating costs are high, power plant personnel must consider the frequency and intensity of operating these harmful cleaning systems.

> New advanced intelligent steam soot blowers developed by various companies enable monitoring of the boiler performance. This instructs operators to only clean surfaces when necessary and limits tube erosion. The downside of this development is an additional increase in capital and operating costs for these devices.

►►► Acoustic (Sonic) Cleaning Devices 

> In acoustic or sonic blowers, sound waves are generated at low frequencies to create pressure fluctuations causing vibrations in the ash deposits, which get loosened from the tubes and fall into the gas stream. They should not be too sticky or hard.

      Acoustic horn results have been moderate at  best. These blowers are ineffective over slagging or sintered deposits and only partly effective in loose deposits cleaning. 

> Sonic blowers can also be used in bag filters, ESPs, silos and bins. Even here, sonic horns often do not deliver the performance they claim.

> The positive aspects of using Sonic Soot Blowers are practically no maintenance, low operation and  installation costs.

> This cleaning technology is also harmless to the boiler.

►►►► Detonation Blowers

Detonation Blowers are the most efficient boiler cleaning devices due to their omnidirectional, non-line-of-sight effective cleaning and powerful detonation waves. It is the only technology that can also effectively clean the entire space of the tube bundles.Non-line-of-sight cleaning enables removing fouling in the depth of the boiler tube bundles significantly improving heat transfer and preventing clogging, i.e. avoiding an increase in aerodynamic drag. 

> Unlike steam soot blowers, detonation blowers do not cause erosion or corrosion of entire tubes or refractories of boilers or incinerators.The high pressure hot waves generated by detonation do not cause thermal shock, corrosion or boiler erosion.

> Operation and maintenance costs are very low compared to steam or air soot blowers.

Detonation Waves vs. Acoustic Waves 

Although acoustic technology is omnidirectional in nature, each blast wave pulse from a detonation soot blower delivers far more energy than an acoustic horn.

Detonation waves are characterized by a high energy of at least 175 dB, since acoustic devices provide a maximum of 150 dB, and each increase of 10 dB on the decibel scale is equal to a 10-fold increase in sound pressure level (SPL). The pressure amplitude is orders of magnitude higher for a blast wave compared to an acoustic horn sound wave.

The advantages of detonation cleaning technology are obvious. So why are they not a priority in the market? 

All known detonation devices have high capital costs!

However, new detonation devices are appearing on the market today, which are affordable even for small enterprises.

SootGone™ is a reliable, effective and the most advanced detonation soot cleaning technology on the market today, developed by our company LeonPulse Ltd.

The SootGone™'s unique design allows it to operate with a variety of low pressure fuel gases (typically LPG - Liquefied Petroleum Gas - Propane-Butane or Natural Gas - Methane) and ambient air, and has no moving parts inside the pulse generators.

SootGone™ is versatile and can clean various and even hard- to-reach areas of the boiler - tube bundles of all kinds, rotary regenerative air preheaters, membrane walls, ceilings, ducts, hoppers, chimneys and even selective catalytic reduction assemblies without damaging their thin plates, preventing them from being deformed or fatigued by the flow-induced vibration thanks to controlled wave impulses.

All of the above makes our Soot Gone™ technology highly efficient and harmless to the boiler.

SootGone™ is a reliable cleaning system with low capital, operating and maintenance costs.

Given the benefits of our technology, new plants should consider installing the SootGone™ system instead of steam or air blowers, which will significantly reduce capital costs, demonstrate increased boiler reliability and efficiency, and significantly reduce operating and maintenance costs.

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