NFPA 85, Chapter 9.5.4 states “A pulverizer that is tripped under load shall be inerted and maintained under an inert atmosphere until confirmation that no burning or smoldering fuel exists in the pulverizer or the fuel is removed”. Pulverizer systems with the potential for a resident inventory of combustible material upon trip must be designed and equipped with an inerting system that is capable of maintaining an inert atmosphere to meet this requirement. Proper design of the inerting system and operating procedure, integrated with the mill operation during start-up, shut down and emergency trip is critical for safe mill operation.

This paper presents a mill steam inerting system review and performance validation. The technology has been applied to ball tube mill systems at Hoosier Energy’s Merom Generating Station. A testing technique, used to validate performance of the steam inerting system at this generating plant, is described. It quantifies the compliance of the steam inerting system to meet NFPA requirements during start-up and shut down of the pulverizer. This type of operation is considered to be the most difficult for inerting as the primary air is flowing through the system. The developed testing approach can be applied to evaluate the performance of either existing or newly installed steam inerting systems. The validation technology, developed based on a ball tube mill system, can be readily applied on other types of mill systems, since the steam inerting principle is the same and inerting system requirements are similar, regardless of different mill types.

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