Coal-fired utility boiler modelling for advanced economical low-NOx combustion controller design

Huirong Zhao, Jiong Shen, Yiguo Li, Joseph Bentsman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper focuses on developing a control-oriented coal-fired utility boiler model for advanced economical Low-NOx combustion (ELNC) controller design. Two boiler combustion models are proposed in this paper: one is a mathematical model describing the key dynamics of the real-time boiler thermal efficiency and the furnace one-dimensional NOx concentration distribution under conventional fuel and overfire air operations; the other recast from the first model is a control-oriented grey-box model with a data-driven furnace combustion submodel. Simulation studies on static and dynamic properties of the first mathematical model indicate that the model can function as a real-time simulator for both advanced boiler combustion control laws testing and generating training and validation data for the control-oriented grey-box model. At the end of this paper, the control-oriented grey-box modelling procedure as well as an optional discrete time linear state-space model are summarised to facilitate model-based advanced combustion controllers design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-141
Number of pages15
JournalControl Engineering Practice
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Boiler thermal efficiency
  • Control-oriented modelling
  • Low-NO combustion
  • Model predictive control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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