Technical Market Support

A Comprehensive Technical Review of High-Efficiency Low-Emission (HELE) Pulverised Coal Combustion Technologies for Power Generation

Technical Market Support » Thermal Coal

Published: June 20Project Number: C28063

Get ReportAuthor: Soonho Lee, Jongho Kim, Arash Tahmasebi, Jianglong Yu | University of Newcastle

Research and development has been undertaken worldwide to realise coal fired power plants that are capable of operating at higher steam temperatures and pressures to achieve higher plant efficiencies. These efficient units use low-NOx coal burners and are fitted with state-of-the-art technologies for pollutant capture to control environmental emissions. These are commonly referred to as HELE (high-efficiency low-emissions) coal-fired power plants, and the best examples can meet the emission limits for gas-fired power plants.

This project reviewed the HELE technology development   renovation roadmap in three components:

  • Steam cycle side;
  • Fire side featured with low NOx burning; and
  • Flue gas treatments (including PM capture and deSOx/deNOx).

This report aims to provide a comprehensive overview on the HELE pulverised coal power generation side where most Australian thermal coals are and will be used, and covers both the technical R&D and the modelling efforts in the literature for the first two components. The increases in the steam pressure and temperature represents the roadmap to HELE coal boiler technology R&D over the past decades, from subcritical to supercritical through to ultra-supercritical and advanced ultra-supercritical boilers. The increases in the plant efficiency, the drop in coal consumption and the carbon emissions, and lower NOx formation are regarded as the main advantageous features of the HELE coal combustion technologies. The achievements in reaching higher steam pressures and temperatures have been made possible owing to the use of advanced materials that can withstand such conditions.

Extensive numerical modelling efforts have been made in the past several decades, which has improved our understanding of the technical issues associated with HELE boilers, including combustion and boiler performance optimisation, ash deposition, and materials issues at higher operating temperatures. The current modelling research in the open literature has been overviewed in this report, which has improved our understanding of the technical issues in coal fired boilers under HELE conditions, including boiler performance optimisation, ash deposition, and materials issues. The effects of changes in the configuration and operating conditions are discussed with a focus on the optimisation of boiler performance, such as unburnt carbon and NOx emissions. The retrofit and optimisation of burner geometry and operating conditions in low-NOx coal combustion technology, which is necessary to operate HELE power plants, are also overviewed.

In terms of ash deposition, the development of sub-models, including particle sticking and impacting behaviour and its impact on the prediction of ash deposit growth under different temperatures have been discussed. The numerical models for material oxidation and creep of austenitic and nickel-based alloys used under HELE conditions have been developed based on the finite element method to predict the availability of advanced alloys and creep life and the actual service time of the boiler parts. The prediction of oxide scale growth and exfoliation in both steam-side and fire-side as well as creep strength, have also been analysed and reviewed.

The project also identifies further research needs on numerical modelling that are required to further optimise the coal combustion processes and to address the technical issues associated with the advanced HELE power plant operations.

The literature data demonstrate that coal quality seems to be responsible for various issues during coal combustion, especially, slagging and fouling in both subcritical and advanced coal-fired boilers. Coal quality data that influence such issues have been collected from the open literature, based on which we have developed the thermal coal database, currently including 34 Australian and 26 international thermal coals, ranging from subbituminous to bituminous coals. Various slagging/fouling empirical and experimental indices have been included in the database to evaluate the slagging/founding propensity.


Health and safety, productivity and environment initiatives.

Recently Completed Projects

C27039True Triaxial Strength Of Coal Measure Rocks And Its Impact On Roadway Stability And Coal Burst Assessment

Rocks in the ground are subject to a range of stresses. The stresses...

C3063Underground Vehicle Design Standards And Statutory Implications

The Australian underground diesel vehicle fleet has evolved since di...

C3064Conveyor Belting And Lagging Shear Characteristics - Drive Drum Slip

The primary aim of this project was to investigate the relationsh...


Open Cut

Safety, productivity and the right to operate are priorities for open cut mine research.

Recently Completed Projects

C29021Assessing The Impact Of Consecutive Night Shifts On Night-Time Alertness, Daytime Sleep And Timing Of The Circadian System

In the Australian coal mining industry, most guidelines for managing...

C33037Quantifying Recharge To Groundwater Systems In The NSW Coalfields (Sydney, Gunnedah And Gloucester Basins)

The purpose of this project was to estimate the rate of diffuse rec...

C26029Geological Controls On Fluorine And Phosphorus In Bowen Basin Coals

Increasing global restrictions on fluorine in product coal prompted ...

Open Cut

Coal Preparation

Maximising throughput and yield while minimising costs and emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C27064Dry Beneficiation Using FGX And X-Ray Sorters

Conventional dry processing methods engage a single beneficiation de...

C26010Multi-Sloped Screening Efficiency With Changing Strokes, Frequencies, Feed Solids And Feed Rates-Pilot Plant Study

Optimising multi-sloped screens is often described as an art and the...

C28059Impact Of Water Quality In Coal Handling And Preparations Plants

The objective of this project was to deliver a concise reference do...

Coal Preparation

Technical Market Support

Market acceptance and emphasising the advantages of Australian coals.

Technical Market Support

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from the production of coal.

Recently Completed Projects

C23052Novel Stone Dust Looping Process For Ventilation Air Methane Abatement

This multi‐phase project is concerned with the mitigation of m...

C27054Optimisation Of A Thermal Flow Reversal Reactor For Ventilation Air Methane Mitigation

Ventilation air methane (VAM) generally accounts for 50-85% of the t...

C28076Selective Absorption Of Methane By Ionic Liquids (SAMIL) - Phase 2 Demonstration In A Packed Bed Reactor

An alternative approach to high temperature oxidation of ventilation...

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Low Emission Coal Use

Step-change technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C17060BGasification Of Australian Coals

Four Australian coals were trialled in the Siemens 5 MWth pilot scale ga...

C17060AOxyfuel Technology For Carbon Capture And Storage Critical Clean Coal Technology - Interim Support

The status of oxy-fuel technology for first-generation plant is indicate...

C18007Review Of Underground Coal Gasification

This report consists of a broad review of underground coal gasification,...

Low Emission Coal Use

Mining And The Community

The relationship between mines and the local community.

Recently Completed Projects

C16027Assessing Housing And Labour Market Impacts Of Mining Developments In Bowen Basin Communities

The focus of this ACARP-funded project has been to identify a number...

C22029Understanding And Managing Cumulative Impacts Of Coal Mining And Other Land Uses In Regions With Diversified Economies

The coal industry operates in the context of competing land-uses that sh...

C23016Approval And Planning Assessment Of Black Coal Mines In NSW And Qld: A Review Of Economic Assessment Techniques

This reports on issues surrounding economic assessment and analysis ...

Mining And The Community


National Energy Research,Development & Demonstration Council (NERDDC) reports - pre 1992.

Recently Completed Projects

1609-C1609Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

1301-C1301Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development...

Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development and Extraction Operations

0033-C1356Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals...

Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals - An Industry Handbook