Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Computing, Engineering & Construction

Degree Name

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MSEE)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. School of Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Chiu Choi

Second Advisor

Dr. Daniel Cox

Third Advisor

Dr. O. Patrick Kreidl

Department Chair

Dr. Murat Tiryakioglu

College Dean

Dr. Mark A. Tumeo


The focus of this thesis is the development and implementation of a neural network model predictive controller to be used for controlling the integrated recycle heat exchanger (Intrex) in a 300MW circulating fluidized bed (CFB) boiler. Discussion of the development of the controller will include data collection and preprocessing, controller design and controller tuning. The controller will be programmed directly into the plant distributed control system (DCS) and does not require the continuous use of any third party software.

The intrexes serve as the loop seal in the CFB as well as intermediate and finishing superheaters. Heat is transferred to the steam in the intrex superheaters from the circulating ash which can vary in consistency, quantity and quality. Fuel composition can have a large impact on the ash quality and in turn, on intrex performance. Variations in MW load and airflow settings will also impact intrex performance due to their impact on the quantity of ash circulating in the CFB. Insufficient intrex heat transfer will result in low main steam temperature while excessive heat transfer will result in high superheat attemperator sprays and/or loss of unit efficiency.

This controller will automatically adjust to optimize intrex ash flow to compensate for changes in the other ash properties by controlling intrex air flows. The controller will allow the operator to enter a target intrex steam temperature increase which will cause all of the intrex air flows to adjust simultaneously to achieve the target temperature. The result will be stable main steam temperature and in turn stable and reliable operation of the CFB.