Case Study: Ultrasound Finds Leaks in Air-Cooled Condenser in Power Plant
A team of engineers was trained to use ultrasound for leak detection in a power plant with an air-cooled condenser. A single day inspection found several vacuum leaks in the top of the tubes, inner tubes and tube junctions. The leaks were repaired; improving the vacuum system back pressure from 27 kPa to 9 kPA (power plant condenser design value is 13.7 kPa). The increased vacuum pressure not only improved the operational efficiency of the condenser system, but also reduced coal consumption by 170 tons per year. The coal savings alone were $2.2 million USD. The power plant also saw an increase in electrical generation output.
CTRL Systems’ Beijing-based office —(Beijing Jiahua SiChuang Technology Ltd. — has delivered CTRL products and programs under an energy-savings pilot-program for the past three years. The program was created for the benefit of energy savings and production in power generation plants. Nearly 25 percent of the power plants in China participated in the pilot program. The implementation of CTRL technologies has been a success to the participants. For this reason, a new permanent program was put in place in 2012 in which other power plants will be able to participate.
Applications for the power generation plants include detecting leaks in vacuum systems, valves, air condensers and hydrogen generators. Using CTRL’s leak detection technology has proven much faster and accurate than other traditional leak detection methods, according to the company.
“CTRL and the Beijing Office have jointly developed an advanced turnkey product and service program specific for the China power generating industry,” said Dr. Xinmin Li, director of sales and marketing CTRL Systems-China. “We believe power plants in the U.S. and around the world can all benefit from the same programs to achieve the same results including energy savings and production reliability.”
“These power plants have taken the first step in successfully integrating CTRL’s ultrasound technology to sustain uninterrupted production,” said Bob Roche, president of CTRL Systems Inc. “Our team continues to work with the plants to expand the uses to other condition based monitoring applications for greater returns on their investment.”
Surface condensers help maximize turbine efficiency in power plants. Effective operation relies on a leak-free vacuum.