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5.2 Operational procedures

5.2.1 Start-up
5.2.2 Closing down
5.2.3 System maintenance

5.2.1 Start-up

In order to start-up the unit, the following operations have to be performed:

1. Closing of valve E and opening of valve D (see Fig. 5.1).

2. Opening of the reactor ignition port.

3. Starting the fan by switching the fan button control.

4. Lighting of a piece of paper, that has to be put into the reactor ignition hole. This paper will be sucked into the gasifier and will ignite the charcoal present in the reactor. It takes about a minute before the charcoal inside the reactor is burning and the ignition hole can be closed.

5. Opening of the gasifier air inlet. Product gas is now escaping through the flare. The gas must be flared for about ten minutes, before the engine can be started.

6. Switch the fan button to out position, close valve-D and open valve E.

7. Put the air inlet valve to the engine into the half-open position.

8. Close the reactor air-inlet for a short period to create a slight overpressure in the system.

9. Start the engine by pushing the starter button on the control panel.

10. Leave the engine running unloaded for a period of about five minutes.

The whole starting-up procedure takes about twenty minutes.

5.2.2 Closing down

1. Switch off the engine's ignition.

2. Close valve E.

3. Leave the gasifier air inlet open for a short period in order to release the pressure build-up caused by continuing pyrolysis of the fuel. Be aware that poisonous carbon-monoxide is being produced.

4. After a few minutes close the gasifier air inlet in order to avoid continuous combustion of the reactor's fuel content.

5.2.3 System maintenance

When operating on coconut shells it proved necessary to remove the ashes from the bottom of the reactor every ten operational hours.

The ash bin of the cyclone had to be emptied approximately every forty hours.

From the pressure drop over the impingement separator it became clear that cleaning of this filtering device was necessary approximately every 100 hours. Cleaning of the filter proved to be fairly difficult because of the construction which allows access only at the top of the device. The solution was found by removing the dust by means of a vacuum cleaner.

From the pressure drop over the glass fibre filter it was concluded that cleaning of this device is necessary approximately every 100 operational hours. Cleaning proved to be a rather tiresome procedure because the top of the filter had to be removed. Removal of the heavy top lid involves at least three persons or alternatively a pulley has to be installed.

The above maintenance can of course be undertaken only when the system is out of operation.

Condensate water must be removed from the condensate drain vessels approximately every five hours. This is a minor task and because of the special construction of the drain vessel taps it can be performed when the system is in operation.

The times given for maintenance intervals depend not only on the operation time of the system but on the engine load which is of equal importance. Because the average engine load during operation at Giriulla mills was on the low side (see below), it is entirely possible that the intervals between maintenance will be shorter when the system is run under full load.

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