A polymer solution to in-service deterioration of heat exchangers

Belzona Polymerics Limited, providing solutions to industry for over 55 years through the design and manufacture of polymer repair composites and industrial protective coatings, has announced a proven solution to prevent the detrimental effects of erosion corrosion within heat exchangers.

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In-service deterioration can occur through erosion damage and galvanic corrosion due to contact between dissimilar metals, commonly used in the construction of heat exchangers. If this damage is not addressed the efficiency of the system will be seriously undermined with the potential for complete failure of components, resulting in expensive operational downtime and potentially high replacement costs.

In 2003, a heat exchanger in a major power station in the UK had been removed for refurbishment. Following inspection, it was discovered that galvanic corrosion, coupled with erosion had caused a loss of metal thickness on the tube sheet surface. Consequently, coolant was able to contaminate the process fluid, necessitating immediate shutdown of the system, with the customer facing potentially high cost maintenance repairs.

Belzona was able to provide a cost effective solution, utilizing maintenance techniques that have been developed, whereby components can be both rebuilt and protected using polymeric compositions. A multi-purpose, two component system, based on a ceramic steel reinforced polymer was used to rebuild the eroded tube sheet and seal the leaks.

To prevent future deterioration, a low temperature curing, high-performance erosion/corrosion resistant coating system was applied. The electrically insulating Belzona materials isolated the dissimilar metals used in heat exchanger construction, thereby eliminating further galvanic corrosion.

By treating heat exchanger components in this way, efficiency can be restored to levels approaching the original design parameters and can be maintained without subsequent deterioration. During a recent maintenance outage, Belzona’s team of power industry specialists revisited the heat exchanger and found it to be in excellent operational condition, without the need for further maintenance repairs.

This is just one of numerous Belzona product applications that have stood the test of time, remaining in service many years after installation. Due to this proven longevity, many product applications have been internationally approved by engineers, contractors and maintenance personnel.

Anaconda wave energy converter in final testing at UK’s biggest ship tank

The UK’s dependence on energy from non-renewable sources is being challenged by a new wave energy converter called Anaconda that mimics the action of a sea snake.

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Now in final proof of concept testing, Anaconda is producing energy data at an estimated cost that is excitingly low and as such may offer a serious and cost-effective alternative in the delivery of future clean energy supplies.

The Anacondas – up to 200 metres long and made almost entirely of rubber – could each be capable of generating 1 MW of power; typical farms of 50 could create enough electricity to fuel 50 000 homes.

Anaconda is developed by double Queen’s Award winners, Checkmate Group. Chairman Paul Auston said: “The UK is known for its engineering excellence and politicians from all parties have been keen to challenge companies to come up with renewable energy projects that can be sold around the world. With Anaconda we have an invention that changes conventional thinking and it can help to meet government targets for cutting CO2 by providing renewable wave energy from our coastal waters. It will also help cement the UK’s world leading position in this technology.”

“We’ve seen excellent results in scale model testing, and now we are now gearing up to attract the necessary investment to develop Anaconda and begin producing the first full sized units for ocean testing within the next three years.”

The first field of Anacondas could be in commercial production and start deployment off the UK coastline by 2014. Anchored to the seabed and floating just beneath the surface, each Anaconda is continually squeezed by passing ocean waves. These waves form bulges in the water-filled tube and travel down its length developing the power to drive a turbine in the tail. The electricity created would be captured and cabled ashore.

The original idea came from professor Rod Rainey, a chief engineer with engineering design consultants Atkins. He said: “The beauty of wave energy is its consistency. However, the problem holding back wave energy machines is they tend to deteriorate over time in the harsh marine environment. Anaconda is non mechanical: it is mainly rubber, a natural material with a natural resilience and so it has very few moving parts to maintain.”

Wimbro wins Queens Award

Winbro Group Technologies, based in Leicestershire, UK, has won the Queen’s Award for the development of international trade for its state-of-the-art machining systems that produce cooling holes in industrial gas turbine and aero engine components.

The award is in recognition of Winbro’s export record to North America, Europe, Russia, China and Japan.

Winbro’s solutions primarily serve the most technically demanding part of a turbine engine, the high-pressure turbine and combustor components. Turbine blades run at temperatures that are often higher than the melting point of their materials which require very complex and fine cooling features. These features make possible the internal cooling airflow that prevents the parts from overheating and melting during engine operation.

Ongoing efforts in cooling feature, design and machining technology in advanced materials and coatings are fundamental to improving efficiencies.

Siemens puts medium-voltage switchgear specially designed for wind turbines on the market

With the continuous increases in the size of wind farms and in the capacity of wind turbines, the operating voltage of wind farm power systems is also being increased to keep power transmission losses as low as possible.

To meet this requirement Siemens Energy has developed the new gas-insulated medium-voltage switchgear, NX Plus C Wind. The gas-insulated switchgear deployed by Siemens to date for wind turbines operated at a voltage of 24 kV.

The new NX Plus C Wind switchgear operates at a voltage of 36 kV. It is also of a more compact design than the previously built 36 kV Siemens Energy switchgear and can be readily accommodated in the tower of a wind turbine.

Siemens Energy developed its new medium-voltage switchgear NX Plus C Wind above all for deployment in wind farms. The gas-insulated switchgear is installed in the base of the wind turbine tower and therefore has to fit through the door.

Because there is a limited amount of space in the tower the 36 kV switchgear is of a very compact design: Compared to a conventional 24 kV switchgear the new unit is 1000 mm deep and thus 250 mm shorter. Moreover, stringent demands were made of the switchgear’s reliability. In the event of harsh weather conditions the switchgear in the wind turbines may often be inaccessible for days or even weeks.

In most applications the wind turbine with its generator supplies electrical energy at a voltage of 690 V. A downcircuit converter matches the frequency to that of the wind farm’s network and ensures a stable voltage level.

A transformer then steps up this electricity to 30 kV or 33 kV in order to keep transmission losses low.

Exxon Mobil selects SIPOS solution

SIPOS Aktorik’s turnkey solar actuation solution has been selected by Exxon Mobil to aid pipeline control at Notre-Dame de Gravenchon, France.

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The prestigious contract for SIPOS establishes the manufacturer of variable speed actuation products as an approved supplier to Exxon Mobil and confirms the capabilities of the company’s solar system initiative.

Designed to aid Exxon Mobil in a water pollution detection application, the system has been installed to operate a valve situated one mile from the control room that is without local power supply. The solar actuation system does not rely on the grid and therefore offers a truly independent actuation solution.

Notre-Dame de Gravenchon is Exxon Mobil Chemical’s largest manufacturing complex outside the USA. The polypropylene manufacturing unit produces raw materials for packaging films, nonwovens and injection molding that are primarily used by the automotive and appliance industries.

A tool from VTT and Rapal for reducing the carbon footprint of properties launches in Finland

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a tool together with Rapal Oy that can be used to determine the environmental load caused by various premise solutions.

The calculator helps to set objectives and monitor results simultaneously with respect to both finance and environmental impacts, and supports property management that is in accordance with sustainable development.

The carbon footprint calculator is based upon Rapal’s Optimaze.net property management service. The core of the Optimaze.net service in an ASP-based software used with a web browser. The system combines the perspectives of finance, personnel resources, and premises; and it can be used to calculate costs for particular user groups and premises.

VTT developed a feature into the service that enables the user of the office premises to get an overall estimate of the environmental impact of the premise solutions under examination.

VTT’s task in the project was to create a calculation model and collect the necessary background data for the calculation of the carbon footprint of the property. Using the designed calculation model, the energy consumption resulting from the heating, cooling, lighting, and electricity for devices on the premises can be converted into environmental impacts. In addition, when estimating the carbon footprint, the location of the office premises is taken into consideration, as well as environmental effects related to travel to the premises, including various forms of commuting and business trips.

“The single most important activity in the service sector that causes environmental impacts is the use of business premises. As general environmental awareness has increased, the importance of environmental management for the businesses of firms has continued to grow. The software we have developed with VTT provides real-time, transparent and factual data for the various levels of decision-making on environmental strategy,” says Kai Patja, director of Rapal Oy’s Optimaze.net business unit.

In the cooperation project between VTT and Rapal, the environmental perspective has been incorporated into the same tool alongside other essential factors in property management. The software helps set objectives and monitor results simultaneously with respect to both finance and environmental impacts. The tool can be used to determine what personnel resource solutions for the use of the premises are possible and what effect they have on costs and the environmental load. Since commuting is included, it is possible to estimate the effects of teleworking on the property’s carbon footprint.

“One of the common problems with research projects on environmental impacts is that the tools and models developed in them are ultimately used very little. In this project, the calculation of environmental impacts was incorporated into a tool that is already used to aid property management and for which all the required support operations already exist,” says Tarja Häkkinen, chief research scientist at VTT.

In the cooperation project, instructions were also drawn up for the possible utilization of the organization’s environmental impact data in various environmental responsibility and environmental reporting processes as part of comprehensive property management in accordance with sustainable development. The tool developed in the project enables the reporting of the results as graphic presentations and in table form.

Initially, the environmental calculation add-on based on VTT’s calculation model will only be usable in Finland’s conditions, but in the future, the solution could be expanded to be usable in other countries.

Smart grids put to the test

Evaluating the performance of protection schemes under real-world conditions – a task that is crucial to the success of the ‘Smart Grid’ initiative in power transmission – is made easier and more convenient by the latest enhancements to Megger’s popular MPRT protective relay test sets, which now provide full support for all of the key Smart Grid technologies.

In addition to providing manual and automatic testing functions suitable for evaluating even the most complex of protection schemes, the MPRT now offers GPS-synchronised end-to-end testing, and comprehensive facilities for the testing systems based on the IEC 61850 substation communication standard.

Destined to increase the efficiency, utilization and reliability of the power transmission network, the Smart Grid initiative calls for unprecedented levels of automation and network flexibility. This leads to a requirement for complex protection schemes that create significant testing challenges.

To help users meet these challenges, the Megger MPRT range now includes the MGTR GPS timing reference, the MGC (Megger Goose Configurator) software package and an IEC 61851 upgrade option for the MPRT test set itself.

The MGTR timing reference makes use of timing signals from the GPS satellite network to synchronize the operation of separate MPRT test sets at different locations with an accuracy of 100 nS. This facilitates end-to-end testing of line protection schemes, which is the most reliable method of evaluating all aspects of their performance.

For substations designed around the IEC 61850 standard, which underpins the high level of automation associated with the Smart Grid initiative, Megger’s MGC software allows users to import parameters from configuration files in Substation Control Language format.

Full speed ahead for Seaward’s high voltage test range for power engineering applications

Seaward Electronic’s range of high voltage test equipment has been specially designed for the safe and practical detection of voltages on electrical systems in the power generation and distribution, rail network, petrochemical and electrical service and maintenance industries.

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The range of high voltage safety testing equipment available includes neon and digital voltage indictors, safe discharge units, neon and digital phasing equipment, insulator leakage detectors and current clamps.

The KDIE high voltage indicators include both neon and digital systems to confirm the presence of voltage on earthed neutral electrical circuits up to 33 kV.

These are supported by a range of high voltage phasing rods that enable phase comparisons to be made at the point of paralleling two circuits without the interposition of voltage transformers or secondary wiring circuits. A neon type instrument is available for use on circuits up to 11.5 kV and digital versions are available for use on systems up to 15 kV and 33 kV.

The range of HV Indicators and HV Phasing Units is supported by a hook ammeter for accurately measuring current flow on overhead power lines and a large jaw clamp meter for the measurement of current flow through large conductors.

In addition to the standard range of test equipment, specialist testers are also available for the safe discharge of stored energy in large capacitors and electrically charged equipment.

A dedicated airfield ground lighting voltage detector has also been introduced for proving dead on AGL systems up to 5kV.

All high voltage test and measurement equipment in the Seaward range complies with international safety standards and are manufactured in accordance with IEC 61243.

GEA bags €20m condenser order

GEA Energietechnik GmbH, a company of GEA Group Aktiengesellschaft has received an order for the design, manufacturing and supply of an air cooled condenser for a 760 MW combined cycle power plant in La Brea, Trinidad and Tobago.

The air cooled condenser heat exchanger bundles that form the core component of the air cooled condenser will be produced at GEA’s new manufacturing site in Celaya/Mexico. The order will be executed in 2009 and 2010.

Due to environmental regulations in Trinidad and Tobago, no direct use of sea water or other water sources are allowed for power plant cooling. For this reason, an air cooled condenser, which is a complete dry cooling system, has become the cooling method of choice for this project. GEA’s ALEX air cooled condensers condense the turbine exhaust steam in a closed system. The condensed water is then fully re-circulated as boiler feed water, practically without any loss of water.

AMSC Signs Contract with Acciona Energy for new wind turbine low voltage ride through solution

American Superconductor Corporation (AMSC) , a leading energy technologies company, has announced that it has received an order worth more than $10m from Acciona Energy, a division of Acciona and a world leader in renewable power, for its new Dynamic VAR Ride Through (D-VAR RT) solution.

Building on AMSC’s highly successful D-VAR platform, which provides critical dynamic reactive compensation required to connect many wind farms around the world to the power grid, the company’s D-VAR RT product enables individual wind turbines to continue operating smoothly by ‘riding through’ voltage disturbances on power grids that might otherwise interrupt their operation.

The D-VAR RT product meets stringent grid interconnection requirements, including Spain’s new Procedimiento de Operación 12.3 requirement for both existing and new wind turbines.

According to the Global Wind Energy Council, Spain was the world’s third largest wind power market at the end of 2008 with an installed base of more than 16 000 MW. Disturbances such as momentary voltage dips can disconnect many wind turbines and cause instability on the transmission grid.

Developed by Spain’s transmission system operator Red Electrica de España (REE), P.O. 12.3 requires that wind turbines remain connected to the grid through such events.

After extensive field testing and operation by an AMSC-Acciona Energy team at a wind farm with one of Spain’s most difficult climates, the D-VAR RT solution recently received official certification of compliance. Acciona Energy has initially ordered D-VAR RT solutions for an important amount of first-generation ‘squirrel-cage’ wind turbines that are currently providing more than 250 MW of electricity in Spain to meet P.O. 12.3. AMSC will deliver all of the D-VAR RT solutions covered under this contract to Acciona Energy over the next few months.

The D-VAR RT solution can be installed inside or outside the tower of any wind turbine, enabling turbine manufacturers as well as wind farm developers, owners and operators to easily add the systems to new wind turbines or retrofit existing turbines. Utilizing AMSC’s PowerModule PM3000W wind turbine converter, this scalable solution is designed for a wide range of wind turbines with power ratings from 500 kW up to 10 MW.

The powerful, cost-effective technology provides low and high voltage ride through capabilities to keep wind turbines running through grid disturbances. This product is based on AMSC’s patented D-VAR platform, which is supporting more than 3300 MW of power at 40 wind farms around the world.

“With more than 6000 MW of wind power installed and more than 15 000 additional MW in development, Acciona Energy is a global clean energy powerhouse and is an ideal first adopter for our new D-VAR RT solution,” said Timothy Poor, AMSC’s Vice President of Global Sales and Business Development. “We see great potential for this product in Spain and other countries that adopt similar standards in the years ahead as wind power continues to play a more prominent role in the world’s electricity supply.”

Acciona Energy has been a renewable energy pioneer in its home market for well over a decade. In 1994, the company established its first commercial wind farms. Acciona is currently present in more than 30 countries on five continents, making it one of the world’s leading wind turbine manufacturers and wind farm owners and operators.

As a key player in the Spanish market, Acciona has contributed to the growth in wind energy by developing and adapting innovative solutions that enable wind to become a main energy contributor. Acciona Energy has been involved in several technical working groups and committees with the aim of developing these new ride through standards.

Geislinger delivers it largest viscous damper yet

Geislinger is known for their tuned torsional vibration dampers – commonly known as Geislinger Dampers. Just recently the company increased its product portfolio with viscous-type dampers which are sold under the name Vdamp.

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As its first success, Geislinger was able to outfit different 4-stroke engine families. Recently Geislinger delivered the damper for a 2-stroke application for a Korean-built engine.

Due to its project management, Geislinger reports a total time of only 19 working days between contract signature and delivery out of their Salzburg headquarters. Because of the perfect calculation with Geislinger’s own torsional vibration programmes, it was also possible to achieve the ‘go-ahead’ from the engine manufacturer and the class society DNV within the same time frame.

Geislinger is confident to strengthen its position as supplier for torsional vibration solutions even in rough seas and forecasts further projects based on to their support, quality and experience.

ATEX-certified oscillator and longer cables for CapaciSense tip clearance measurement systems

Tyco Thermal Controls has introduced a new ATEX certified oscillator which adds hazardous area capabilities to its latest 5 Series CapaciSense high temperature, tip clearance measurement systems for gas turbine engines.

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Whilst the earlier 4 Series systems also featured a full ATEX approved engine-mounted electronics package, the new oscillator in the 5 Series enables energy limited outputs to the sensing probe and connection and disconnection functions to be performed within the hazardous area.

When used in combination with Tyco Thermal Controls latest cable, probes up to 10 metres in length can be supported so the oscillator can be installed outside of the turbine compartment for easier access and thermal management, whilst the rack electronics can still be 100 metres away from the oscillators.

This latest development further demonstrates that capacitive sensors have progressed well beyond experimental and scientific projects and are providing industrial solutions with major benefits for users in the aerospace and power generation industries.

Capable of monitoring gas turbine engines in operation, CapaciSense capacitive sensors deliver real time data on compressor and turbine blade-tip clearance measurements, rotor shaft and disc displacement. With its 400 kHz bandwidth, the 5 Series also allows tip timing measurements to be performed for blade vibration monitoring.

CapaciSense high temperature clearance measurement systems accurately monitor a wide range of clearances within modern gas turbine engines. These systems have a patented capacitive sensor design that can be used with AM or FM electronics and are capable of withstanding tip temperatures up to 2550ºF (1400ºC).

Using advanced electronic processing, CapaciSense will output real-time, high accuracy, blade-clearance and blade deflection information and can be configured to assist with engine condition monitoring, blade vibration and rotodynamic measurements.

With over ten years experience in developing capacitive sensing tip clearance and timing systems for this application, Tyco Thermal Controls is at the forefront of this technology. Its CapaciSense systems, with their exceptional probe life, have been in operational service on production engines for the last six years.

In addition to the design, manufacture and supply of measurement systems, the company provides full technical support, including sensor advice and a calibration service.