Georgia Renewable Power

Lumberton, NC

Georgia Renewable Power owns a biomass power plant in Lumberton, NC that is operated by Veolia Energy.  The plant was originally a coal-fired plant.  After the boilers were converted to fire biomass, the combustion control system, although upgraded, could not operate properly in automatic mode.  Operating only in manual mode for the fuel feed, under-grate air and over-fire air was difficult for operators with such varying characteristics of the wood waste and poultry litter fuel.  The control system limitation caused issues with stack emissions and steady steam production.

“We brought in Kevin Utley of Oak Valley Engineering to modify the combustion controls programming and tune the combustion and control loops” writes Tim Cotner, Plant Manager at Lumberton.  “He developed an improved controls philosophy for biomass firing and made the programming changes to implement that philosophy.  After making the programming modifications, Kevin worked with our operators to train them on the control changes while tuning the control loops and the fuel-to-air settings.”

the ease of the system process changes and the inclusion of the control room operators made this a very successful operational control change.

Tim Cotner

According to Cotner, “Kevin’s work was very successful as the system could be operated in auto with significant improvement of air control. In addition, one of the many impressive accomplishments was the training of the control room operators AND he listened to each of them and incorporated their system improvements to make the system easier for them to control the process. This training effort significantly improved the acceptance and utilization of the system and the facility gained much needed air control in the combustion system.”