A 600MW tangentially fired sub-critical boiler with the volume heat load of 87.6kW/m3 at the case of BMCR was not originally equipped with the separated over fire air (SOFA) system. Shenhua bituminous coal with low ash fusion point and strong slagging characteristics is employed as its design coal. To prevent serious slagging on its platen heaters, it is necessary to employ 80% Shenhua bituminous coal with low ash fusion temperature blending 20% Shenhua bituminous coal with high ash fusion temperature. However, NOx emission value at the furnace exit reaches more than 370mg/m3 (O2 = 6%). In order to achieve a NOx emission limitation level below 100mg/m3 (O2 = 6%) for pulverized coal power boilers which meets the requirement from latest Chinese environmental protection regulation, while considering a low cost of retrofit, a comprehensive low NOx emission boiler retrofit scheme combining air-staged low NOx combustion technology and selective catalytic reduction of flue gas in the low temperature flue duct of boiler was selected preferentially. Two-level air staging technology has some obvious advantages including a little negative effect on the boiler’s combustion efficiency, and easily achieving deep air-staged combustion mode. Therefore, a study of numerical simulation concerning original combustion mode and optimized two-level air staging combustion mode was conducted. Due to excellent ignition and burnout characteristics of Shenhua bituminous coal with high volatile matter, low ash fusion temperature and reasonable configuration of upper and lower burnout air ports, the NOx emission level at the exit of furnace would be greatly reduced, and the fouling layer temperature of water wall obviously decreases, which means a definite improvement of clean degree of furnace. And the gas temperature at the bottom of platen heaters decreases about 20 °C while burning 100% Shenhua bituminous coal with low ash fusion temperature. However, its combustion efficiency would decline weakly. The performance of boiler was optimized by combustion tests after the retrofit. This boiler can fully burn Shenhua bituminous coal with low ash fusion temperature by use of two-level air staging system, and furnace soot blowing frequency also lowered. Consequently, exhaust gas temperature decreased, which achieved an increase of boiler efficiency by about 0.3%. In addition, NOx emission level decreased more than 60%, and was about 15 mg/m3 (O2 = 6%) lower than coal blending cases. To meet a full burning of Shenhua bituminous coal with low ash fusion temperature, it is suggested that two-level air staging technology should be applied to the retrofit of boiler. And then goals of low NOx emission and anti-slagging on the platen heaters can be achieved.

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