Electricity companies operating in today’s competitive energy markets often face the challenge of running a diverse portfolio of power stations. They aim to maximise efficiency in all areas of their businesses, as well as enhance asset life and meet stringent environmental targets.

The UK’s Innogy plc is one such company, and recently implemented a project with ExxonMobil to improve the reliability of coal mill gear boxes at its Didcot A power plant in the UK.

Didcot A is a 2040 MW coal fired power station which was first commissioned in 1972. In the course of the project, Innogy and ExxonMobil were required to find a lube oil circuit to maintain oil pressure at elevated temperatures that was much less restrictive than that currently installed at the plant.

Having reviewed numerous options available, Innogy turned to the Magnom magnetic field effect conditioning system. Magnom, supplied by Fluid Conditioning Solutions Ltd. (FCS), is a revolutionary product comprising a series of annular magnets and innovatively designed formed steel plates. Through its patented design, Magnom removes ferrous and other contaminants of less than one micron from a wide variety of fluids. It can remove the smallest and most abrasive of particles that are responsible for the destructive chain reaction of wear, thus lending the technology to the enhanced transmission protection that has been demonstrated at Didcot A.

Magnom’s unique design ensures a negligible pressure drop across the unit. As the fluid flows through the highly focussed magnetic field, contaminants are drawn out of the fluid flow and into special collection zones. These zones hold significantly more contaminant than a conventional filter without obstructing fluid flow or risking ‘wash-off’ commonly associated with other magnetic separation devices.


Innogy is now undertaking a planned schedule of work to integrate Magnom technology on all 32 coal mill gear boxes at the Didcot A plant
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The key advantages that attracted the project team to the proposition were as follows:

  • Low pressure drop
  • Removal of ferrous (and other) particles to submicronic levels
  • Large dirt holding capacity
  • Easy to clean and reuse.

Having identified this potential solution, it was decided to install a single process unit at Didcot A as a replacement to the existing edge filtration system on the external oil circuit of one of the station’s coal mill gear boxes. This application was considered to be particularly stringent due to the high viscosity of the synthetic lube oil in use (ISO VG320 and 460).

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It very quickly became evident that the primary objective of the project (maintaining oil pressure at elevated temperatures) had been realised with no discernible pressure drop being recorded across the unit, and this has subsequently been maintained. More significantly, the resulting improvements in oil cleanliness have been a real bonus, with a dramatic reduction in ferrous contaminant and additional reductions in aluminium, silicon, copper and soot levels.

This is evidenced in oil analysis data provided by the ExxonMobil Oil Analysis Service. The ferrous levels, previously running at a dangerously high level 350-450 ppm, dropped to a consistent 40-50 ppm. The positive influence of the unit on the other non magnetic contaminants of concern was also seen.

Following the dramatic success of the Magnom trial, Innogy is now undertaking a planned schedule of work to integrate the technology on all 32 coal mill gear boxes at the plant. The benefits of extended oil life and reduced consumption, coupled with exceptional dirt holding capacity, mean that routine maintenance can be reduced, with the units requiring cleaning every three to four years only, well within the schedule for routine outages.

In today’s environmentally sensitive culture, with an ever-increasing drive to continually improve quality while seeking to reduce costs and increase competitiveness, there is a bright future for new technologies that can provide practical solutions to these issues. The experience at Didcot A has shown Magnom to be such a technology. Many forward-thinking global organizations are now incorporating the technology into their future strategies with FCS fully committed to supporting this drive and to developing and applying the technology through strategic partnerships.

Arklow cable order

Nexans has been awarded an order for the supply of 23 km of 35 kV submarine power cables to transport power generated by the wind turbines of the Arklow wind farm in Ireland to an onshore cable station.

The cables will have a cross section of 3 x 1 x 300 mm2 and an outside diameter of 125 mm. They are among the largest submarine cables made at Nexans’ plant in Hanover, Germany. The order also includes the cables linking the individual turbines.

The Arklow wind farm will have seven wind turbines, each with a capacity of 3.6 MW. It is located in the Irish Sea, and its turbines will be installed by GE Wind Energy at the end of 2003.

Multiple FACTS order

Power and automation group ABB has received three seperate orders totaling $25 million to install flexible AC transmission systems (FACTS) for utilities in the USA and Australia.

Transgrid of Australia has awarded ABB a contract, valued at $13 million, for a static var compensator (SVC) for the 330 kV AC interconnection between NSW and Queensland.

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ABB has also received two orders from the USA, both of which are for upgrading existing series compensation installations. One of these contracts, awarded by Idaho Power, is for the replacement of an existing installation of the main 345 kV system at the Goshen substation in Idaho.

Hydro repair robot makes debut

Invensys Systems Inc.’s Manufacturing Solutions business unit has announced the release of its new Scompi models 330 and 330u. Scompi is a portable, track-based, multi-process metal fabrication robot series designed to assist welders in the assembly, refurbishment and repair of turbines, penstock and head-gates used in hydropower plants.

Scompi technology was innovated by Canada-based Hydro-Québec’s research institute. Invensys, in partnership with Hydro-Québec, has industrialized the Scompi technology for the hydropower market segment.

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“Hydro-Québec has been using the Scompi technology since 1995 to perform in-situ cavitation repair of its hydropower turbines. It is currently applying it to reinforce its turbine runners in-situ for fatigue life enhancement and current development will permit robotic refurbishment of head-gate track guides by 2004,” said Dr. Jean-Luc Fihey, project manager of the Scompi technology development team at Hydro-Québec’s research institute.

The Scompi robot is ideal for high-volume process applications, such as turbine assembly and cavitation refurbishment and repair. The equipment is designed for fast installation and configuration, and consists of a base system onto which welding and grinding process equipment is interfaced.

The Scompi robotic system’s light, modular and compact design can be easily transported to the turbine site. The 330 is designed specifically for tight work areas where welders either cannot maintain visual contact with the welding areas or have difficulty performing long welding tasks. The 330u model is an underwater version of the 330 and was developed for nuclear applications.


Over one-third of the sugar mills in Pakistan are now operating Peter Brotherhood steam turbines
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Number 13 is lucky for some

Peter Brotherhood Ltd. proved that the number 13 is lucky for some after the Kamalia sugar mill in Pakistan placed an order for its thirteenth Peter Brotherhood system.

The Peterborough, UK, based company has secured the $560 000 contract for a 2500 kW shredder drive steam turbine. The system will be used to generate mechanical and electrical power for the mill and its exhaust steam used to provide process heat within the plant.

The mill raises steam by burning bagasse which is passed through the back pressure turbine to generate power. The shredder drive will comprise a multi-stage steam turbine and a reduction gearbox and oil system.

Flüs leak detection secures safety

Framatome ANP has installed its Flüs leak monitoring system at FirstEnergy’s Davis-Besse nuclear power plant near Oak Harbour, Ohio, USA. Flüs has been installed in plants in both Europe and Canada, but Davis-Besse is the first US nuclear power plant to receive this state-of-the-art system.

Flüs is designed to detect even very small leaks in piping, tanks and pressure vessels during plant operation. The user can get both real-time and historical data. This information

provided by the Flüs system can then be used to improve planning and reduce plant outage time and worker radiation exposures, resulting in financial and safety benefits for the plant operator.

“Complete solution” power quality analysers

Ideal Industries has announced the introduction of the 800 Series (805, 806 and 807) Power Analyzer range. Power Analyzer provides a complete solution for measuring and analysing power quality and troubleshooting power quality problems. Suitable for use with both single and three-phase electrical systems, the tool offers benefits by saving time, productivity and revenue wastage caused by power quality disturbances.

With its easy use, compact design and strong price/performance ratio, Power Analyzer is specially designed with the testing needs of service technicians and troubleshooting in mind. The tool can be used to check power quality in commercial and industrial electrical power systems at supply, internal distribution and internal load origins. Featuring true RMS readings for error-free testing, Power Analyzer allows customized data collection in a range of power and harmonics measurements.


Power Analyzer is suitable for electrical installers, service technicians or facilities management people looking to reduce energy costs
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Power Analyzer enables specific power quality measurements in four programs: energy and harmonics, disturbances, check-meter and fast-check. Energy and harmonics programs come as standard whilst disturbances, check-meter and fast-check are available separately.

Magnox chooses expert valve engineering

The UK’s BNFL Magnox Generation has awarded specialist engineering solutions group Furmanite a three-year valve maintenance and overhaul contract for its five nuclear power generating sites.


The contract will cover all outage and ad hoc valve repair services for the nuclear generating sites at Chapelcross, Dungeness A, Sizewell A and Wylfa in the UK.
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It also includes the prospect of potential work at the Bradwell and Hinkley Point A defuelling/decommissioning sites. The contract will run for three years with optional extensions of a further two years.

Furmanite personnel from sites in Middlesborough, Immingham and Warrington in the UK will carry out the contract work using Trevitest, which can test relief valves without the need to remove the valve from the plant. The process can be carried out on valves in situ and under pressure (hot testing) and assess the performance of new and existing valves (cold testing).

ABB puts Chinese CFB plant under control

ABB has received an order from Alstom Power for the supply of the entire process system for the Baima power plant in China. The total value of the order is g2.8 million.

Alstom is working with the Dong Fang Boiler Group in Harbin as well as the Shanghai Boiler Works to supply China’s largest fluidized bed boiler, which will have an output of 300 MW.

The advanced combustion technology will help China to use its available coal resources to generate electrical power flexibly while also maintaining low emissions.

The project started in June 2003 and will end in October 2004. ABB will supply its Melody process control system together with Industrial IT solutions.