Neural Network Modelling and Control of Coal Fired Boiler Plant

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis presents the development of a Neural Network Based Controller (NNBC) for chain grate stoker fired boilers. The objective of the controller was to increase combustion efficiency and maintain pollutant emissions below future medium term stringent legislation. Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) were used to estimate future emissions from and control the combustion process. Initial tests at Casella CRE Ltd demonstrated the ability of ANNs to characterise the complex functional relationships which subsisted in the data set, and utilised previously gained knowledge to deliver predictions up to three minutes into the future. This technique was then built into a carefully designed control strategy that fundamentally mimicked the actions of an expert boiler operator, to control an industrial chain grate stoker at HM Prison Garth, Lancashire. Test results demonstrated that the developed novel NNBC was able to control the industrial stoker boiler plant to deliver the load demand whilst keeping the excess air level to a minimum. As a result the NNBC also managed to maintain the pollutant emissions within probable future limits for this size of boiler. This prototype controller would thus offer the industrial coal user with a means to improve the combustion efficiency on chain grate stokers as well as meeting medium term legislation limits on pollutant emissions that could be imposed by the European Commission.
    Date of AwardAug 2005
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorSteven Wilcox (Supervisor) & John Ward (Supervisor)


    • Neural Network Based Controller
    • NNBC
    • chain grate stoker fired boilers
    • combustion eefficiency
    • pollutant emissions
    • Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs)

    Cite this