Cost-Effective Turbine and Generator Dehumidification Strategies
How can fossil fuel power plants cost-effectively protect their turbines during outages?
When a fossil fuel plant has to perform a scheduled outage due to maintenance, they also have to protect their turbines from humidity. A maintenance shutdown that usually takes from two to four weeks requires the turbines and their stators and windings to be wide open and, therefore, exposed to non-optimal temperatures, humidity and dust.
Although turbines are massive, they are vulnerable to environmental damage. The main danger from microscopic oxidation on ferrous metals is that they can develop quickly and go undetected. That is why protecting the turbines from both gross and microscopic corrosion is a critical part of thermal power plant protocols – otherwise it can cause millions of dollars of damage and shut the plant for months.
One of the usual approaches to deal with this problem has been to cover the turbines with a continuous nitrogen flow from either external tanks or nitrogen generators. This becomes extremely expensive due to the massive size of the turbines and the duration of the procedure. A second solution could be coating the turbine and its components with grease or corrosion inhibitor. However, not only is this not as effective as the nitrogen, but it also requires additional days of downtime for coating and cleanup.
Considering this whole scenario, our team of experts came up with a new approach that would be simpler, more efficient and cost-effective: dehumidifying the air. This concept came from the electronics industry. All the small components in light equipment like computers, smartphones and microchip manufacturing are extremely sensitive and easily destroyed by microscopic-level corrosion. The standard industry practice is to surround these delicate components with desiccant dehumidifiers to attract and remove moisture from manufacturing spaces.
Our engineers recognized that a similar approach on a massively larger scale could protect the turbine throughout its long period of exposure. Portable and readily available, our dehumidification systems could provide affordable, full-time corrosion protection during turbine maintenance. And with market changes to the electric utility grid affecting fossil fuel plants, cost-effective strategies to protect turbine-generators during maintenance and prolonged shutdowns have become a need.
Download our free whitepaper and see the details about how not only moisture, but also temperature control solutions deliver optimal results for fossil fuel power plants.