Identifying Condenser Tube Leaks with an SDT270 Ultrasound Detector
Case Study – AB Brown Power Plant, Mt. Vernon, Indiana
By Allan Rienstra, SDT Ultrasound Solutions
Data and situational contributions provided by Bill Phipps, Production Manager, Vectren Corporation
Power Generation facilities aim to run at maximum output during uptime and manage downtime such that it has a minimal effect on efficiency.
Turbine efficiency is negatively impacted by tube leaks in the condenser. Leaks cause contamination of pure water used for steam. When contaminant counts reach alarm states pressure must be lowered reducing output. The turbine continues to run in a low capacity mode until the leaks are found and isolated.
Results Engineers must choose between:
- Treating the symptoms with a system flush or
- Fixing the problem by finding leaking tubes and plugging them, thereby removing them from service.
Often the system flush is chosen as a fast path to restoring optimal output in the shortest length of time.
However with ultrasound technology locating tube leaks is quick and safe. It`s now a clear choice to fix the problem properly instead of applying a band-aid.
The benefits to use ultrasound include:
- Reduced time required to find leaking tubes.
- Worker safety is improved.
- Fewer personnel required reduces labour costs.
- Less coal is consumed, therefore less CO2 and less ash produced for a lighter environmental impact.