17 Apr 2018

Load Bank Testing a New Natural Gas Power Plant

Fossil Fuel Power Plant

Load Bank Testing a New Natural Gas Power Plant

The last thing plant operators need when they’re in the middle of a power failure is underperforming stand-in generators. During this critical time, it’s vital that they act fast to save time and excess costs getting the generators backed up and functioning properly. 

This is where load bank testing comes in. The process makes sure that, if and when a plant’s mains power goes down unexpectedly, the stand-in power generators don’t falter under the pressure. Timely solutions are much needed during a power outage, but it’s even more cost-effective and time-saving to uncover any problems in a controlled environment before a power failure - which is exactly what load bank testing does. 

How Load bank Testing Works

Before power generators can tie into the electrical grid, they need to be tested and commissioned. At this stage, temporary systems that consist of load banks and switchgear can be custom designed and deployed to act as a permanent load source when the existing grid is insufficient, unavailable, or inconsistent. 

Testing these load banks ensures that any temporary and stand-in generators run without faltering when needed so that emergency situations become smooth sailing rather than hair-pulling nightmares. 

The most important thing plant operators need to do during this testing period is make sure that any stand-in generators are able to produce the highest possible horsepower that might be needed while still keeping the right temperature and pressure levels. 

Plant managers and operators shouldn’t have to worry about whether their backup power will kick in during an outage. 

But what happens if it doesn’t work? 

The outcome can be costly and, in some circumstances, catastrophic. 

This is exactly why generator load bank testing is a must-do preventative measure in any generator maintenance plan, which, ideally, should be carried out every year. Making sure that their generators are completely reliable and operational, as well as capable of functioning at the highest load, should be a top priority for plant operators. 

How a New Natural Gas Power Plant Ran Load Bank Testing With No Grid Power Support

Load bank testing can be carried out across a variety of different sectors, including utilities, data centers, windfarms, and facilities management. At Aggreko, we create custom testing systems and carry out load bank testing at a moment’s notice for all of these industries and more.

Take one new natural gas power plant , for example. After two years in the making, it was ready for the final step before commissioning, but there was no grid power nearby. This meant that the plant would need to find an alternative solution to test their generators or they’d fail their contractual requirements. 

We helped them put together a temporary high-output power system and develop a new load test framework for it, all while providing support for these demanding test procedures. 

As a result, the natural gas power plant was able to complete testing in the space of just two months. During this time they had access to experts and hands-on solutions that were uniquely crafted for them and at their disposal. 

Load bank testing can mean the difference between a plant functioning at full capacity during a power outage or crumbling under the pressure. Without these yearly checks or a proper system in place, plant operators will find times of outage stressful, costly, and time-consuming.