Advantages Of Using Mechanical Firing Method (Stokers)

In this article, I will share with you the advantages of using the mechanical firing (stokers) method.


If you have no idea what firing is then this is what you should read carefully.


The process of feeding solid fuels into the furnace is called firing.


Mechanical firing is one of the methods that are used to feed the solid fuels in the furnace.


We have hand and mechanical firing, mechanical firing is considered for medium and bigger power plants while hand firing is for smaller power plants.


In a moment, you will know why the mechanical firing method is preferred in these power plants.


Without wasting time, let me share what you need to know about this method.


These are the various advantages of using the mechanical firing method (stokers);

1. Large amounts of fuel can be fed into the furnace easily.

This is the first advantage of using the mechanical firing method.


With the mechanical firing method, large amounts of solid fuels are fed into the furnace at once.


And that is why stokers are widely used in medium and large plants because of how effective the fuel feeding is.


When a large amount of fuel is fed easily into the furnace, it facilitates the provision of higher heat energy provision to the plant.


The other thing is that lots of time is saved compared to when hand firing is used.


If a large amount of fuel is fed into the furnace easily it makes the burning process progressive since the heat generation will never stop at any point.


With large power plants, a good example is the steam power plant; the provision of coal into the furnace has to be done quicker and in large amounts.


You might like this: Steam Power Plant: Introduction, Components And Working Principle


Only stokers are able to achieve that and that is why they are highly preferred over the hand firing method.


2. Poor grades of coal can be burnt easily with mechanical firing methods.

Mechanical firing is very effective when it comes to burning fuels of poor grades.


You have to know that coals are of different grades and they need different conditions for them to burn completely.


The coal with quality grades will burn completely without any issues in a furnace.


But the coal with poor grades will require good mixing conditions of air and fuel for them to burn efficiently.


The mechanical firing method has a great tendency of spreading up the coal when it’s fed into the furnace.


This allows the fuel to mix thoroughly with air thus making the burning completely even if it’s poor grade of coal that is being used in the burning equipment.


This is one of the advantages that make the stokers amazing for handling poor grades of coal in the furnace.


Additionally, the stokers have two principles that they can use to feed the fuel into the furnace.


We have underfeed and overfeed principles which make them the best in any condition when it comes to mixing up the fuel with air to facilitate proper combustion.



You might like this: Overfeed & Underfeed Stokers: Classification and Working Principles


3. Stokers are self-cleaning and handle the ash.

This is another advantage of using the mechanical firing method to feed fuel into the furnace.


The stokers are self-cleaning which is amazing considering the maintenance that has to be done to the burning equipment.


Without proper maintenance of the furnace, they will decrease in their operating efficiency.


With the furnace, the main maintenance done on them is cleaning.


And since the stokers are self-cleaning, this makes it easier for the furnace to keep operating at its higher efficiency.


The firing method allows the fuel to insert friction into the furnace which ends up cleaning the furnace.


The fuel is fed into the furnace with a considerable pressure thus cleaning the grate in the process.


We have those furnaces with movable fuel beds with scrubbers at every end which ends up cleaning them.


Also as the fuel bed moves, the ash is disposed to the ash pit at the end of the bed.


This minimizes labour, saves time and keeps the furnace working continuously.


All these advantages add up to reducing the operational cost of the power plant, which is a positive thing.


4. The mechanical firing method ensures a uniform fuel feed rate.

The mechanical firing method ensures uniform fuel feed rate in the furnace which provides continuous flame in the furnace.


This makes the furnace conditions better thus providing the heat energy needed without disruptions of any kind.


The feed of the fuel in the furnace is essential to ensure that the heat energy is provided whenever it’s needed.


With the hand firing method, this is not the same case since a human will hardly calculate the amount of fuel he or she feeds into the furnace.


The fuel will just be shovelled in and that’s it.


The stoker can feed the same amount of fuel into the furnace over and over again without changing the volume.


For the furnace to work effectively, this is what should always be done.


You should know that the amount of fuel fed into the furnace at a particular time affects the overall efficiency considering the amount of air that is provided by the furnace.


With stokers that is taken care of, and that is why better furnace conditions are easily achieved with stokers.


5. Stokers increase the overall efficiency of the furnace.

Considering the fact that stokers provide better furnace conditions, a balance of the fuel and air is easily achieved, this provides proper combustion of the fuel thus increasing the efficiency.


All the factors I talked about in the above section of this article add up to increasing the efficiency of the furnace.


A large amount of solid fuel being fed into the furnace allows it to operate to its full capacity thus providing the needed amount of heat energy.


Stokers allow proper mixing of the fuel and air which facilitates proper combustion of the fuel in the furnace.


This is a factor that increases the efficiency of the furnace.


The aspect of self-cleaning of the stokers keeps the furnace in the best condition since clinkering formation is prevented, and ash doesn’t pile up on the furnace which ends up leaving the furnace working effectively.


All these are points that increase the efficiency of the furnace.


And that is why stokers (mechanical firing systems) are always used in large and medium power plants.


6. Stoker saves fuel.

If the stokers operate with higher efficiency, this means that they burn the fuel completely, they provide the heat energy needed and they use the right amount of fuel.


This saves the amount of fuel used in the furnace since the spillage is reduced and no fuel leaves the fuel bed without being completely burnt.


With the hand firing method, spillage is going to be common and there won’t be control of the amount of fuel being fed into the furnace.


And that is why stokers are preferred in large power plants.


We need firing methods that save fuel because when it comes to the power plants the cost of the fuel is the biggest one that we always try to minimize.


Lots of measures are put into the burning equipment to lower the operation cost and keep the power plant at its best load factor.




Stokers are amazing because they offer higher efficiencies but they also have their limitations; they have a higher cost of operations and they need frequent repairs since they always operate under higher temperatures.


Nevertheless, they are the best choice for medium and large power plants because they make it all worth it.


The only thing that should be done is to ensure that they are working to their full potential to give the best output to the power plant.


Thanks for reading, if you have any questions about the stokers just leave a comment. See you in my next article.


Related articles to check.

  1. Conditions For Proper Burning (Combustion) Of Fuel
  2. Pulverized Fuel Burner: Components, Types, Requirements and Working Principle
  3. Conditions That A Burning Equipment (furnace) Should Fulfill
  4. Advantages and Disadvantages of Underfeed Stoker
  5. Factors Influencing Size And Shape Of A Furnace

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