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Prediction of the bottom ash formed in a coal-fired power plant using artificial neural networks
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he amount of bottom ash formed in a pulverized coal-fired power plant was predicted by artificial neural network modeling using one-year operating data of the plant and the properties of the coals processed. The model output was defined as the ratio of amount of bottom ash produced to amount of coal burned (Bottom ash/Coal burned). The input parameters were the moisture contents, ash contents and lower heating values of the coals. The total 653 data were divided into two groups for the training (90% of the data) and the testing (10% of the data) of the network. A three-layer, feed-forward type network architecture with back-propagation learning was used in the modeling study. The activation function was sigmoid function. The best prediction performance was obtained for a one hidden layer network with 29 neurons. The learning rate and the tolerance value were 0.2 and 0.05, respectively. R2 (coefficient of determination) values between the actual (Bottom ash/Coal burned) ratios and the model predictions were 0.988 for the training set and 0.984 for the testing set. In addition, the sensitivity analysis indicated that the ash content of coals was the most effective parameter for the prediction of the ratio of bottom ash to coal burned.