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General press release: A Finnish company obtains a patent – a method for increasing energy production efficiency has a global market

7.9.2020 | News | Vesa Railamaa

Press release for Satakunta: A Pori-based company obtains a patent – a method for increasing energy production efficiency has a global market

For customers: Clean Steel obtains a patent – a method for increasing energy production efficiency has a global market

The Finnish company Clean Steel International Oy has patented the Smart Blasting method, which revamps previous practices for cleaning boilers that produce bioenergy. The method has now been patented in Finland, and the extension of the patent to Europe and Latin America is under way.

The Smart Blasting method is used, for example, by paper and pulp mills, waste incineration plants, sawmills, and CHP plants. The development work is based on Clean Steel’s desire to solve a global issue with biomass combustion, in which the ash generated during combustion accumulates on the boiler’s heat transfer surfaces and adversely affects the operation and reliability of the boiler.

“With the circular economy, the fuels used in energy production have become more diverse, and competing fuels are here to stay. Everything is burned and everything is converted into energy. This is smart in many ways, but at the same time it poses challenges to the boilers’ proper operation and fouling management. When boilers in factories and heating plants burn more industrial by-products, significantly more ash is generated and the party operating the boiler is faced with a new situation,” says the company’s Sales Director Vesa Railamaa.

Traditional methods of cleaning the heat transfer surfaces of different boilers do not always guarantee a completely clean surface.
“For example, in a heat transfer surface cleaned by sandblasting, a small layer of dirt often remains, just as a precaution, because not even a thousandth of a millimetre of the boiler’s surface should be removed. When the cleaned surface is covered by a thin layer of dirt, the effects of corrosion and erosion cannot be observed on visual inspection. In addition, if the surface remains rough, new dirt will adhere even more easily,” says Railamaa.

“We kept thinking that there must be a smarter way. We experimented with different methods that would effectively remove dirt but would not damage the boiler pipe material. This is how we came across the slag generated as a by-product in nickel production. The method effectively removes dirt and the chromium oxide compound formed on the surface of the pipe to be cleaned slows down the adhesion of new dirt. The most significant benefit for the customer is the increased efficiency in energy production and the minimisation of possible boiler run-time problems due to fouling. Many of our customers have noticed this after just one try,” says Railamaa.

The company researched the method at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd and then decided to apply for a patent. The patent process took three and a half years.

“This is an important step for us. We want to show global players in the industry that we are a credible partner. We have proven expertise that provides significant financial benefits to our customers. Boilers simply work better with our service,” says Railamaa.

“The problem that can be solved with Smart Blasting is global, and Finnish technological know-how has a lot to offer here,” says Railamaa.

Clean Steel is an expert in controlling corrosion and fouling on the heat transfer surfaces of power boilers. The company’s customers include all major Finnish forestry companies, several energy companies and, among others, Klabin, Brazil’s largest manufacturer of paper and board for packaging, and Dalkia, France’s leading power plant operator. In 2019, the company’s turnover was approximately 2.8 million euros.

Further information:

Vesa Railamaa, Sales Director
+358 40 5473916

More information on the method is available at https://cleansteel.fi/services/smart-blasting/

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