More and more, power plants must cycle to fill in gaps caused by disruptive power generation and in response to the need to bid on and dispatch electricity at certain times in the competitive marketplace. This means plants cycle based on demand and market prices for their energy production.
Each time a plant cycles, two or more hours of operator time are required to manually adjust steam and water flow on the sample panel so it is consistent, which can have an impact on sample conditioning and analysis for the plant’s overall water chemistry program. Operators, chemical technicians, corporate chemists and instrument technicians can spend many hours each day adjusting these sample flows – valuable resources and time that could be better spent focusing on plant operations.
Wouldn’t there be a huge savings of time and money if this process could be automated with the press of a button?
Automated sample flow
Now it can be. The easy-to-use Sentry® AutoVREL flow controller offers a turnkey solution that automatically controls sample flow. How it works is simple: A device controls sample panel flow based on feedback from a non-contact flow meter. The operator needs to only set the desired sample flow and the system automatically adjusts to obtain and maintain the desired flow rate. By responding to flow variances, the AutoVREL maintains constant flow to analytics while the power plant is operating – performing consistently during day-to-day operations and eliminating the need for continual adjustment of flows while a plant is transitioning from high to low loads or going in and out of service.
The Sentry AutoVREL builds upon proven, industry standard technology – the Sentry Variable Pressure-Reducing Element (VREL®). Routine cycling of the Sentry VREL to prevent plugging is recommended, and the AutoVREL has this feature inherent to its design. Under normal operation, automation will open and close the high pressure control valve based on the feedback from the flow meter. When the plant pressure is reduced to the point where there is less than 100cc flow, the system enters “wait mode,” and while in wait mode, the AutoVREL will open and close the control valve at a user set interval to check for the start of sample. When plant pressure rises to the point where there is above 100cc of flow measured, the flow controller system will return to actively maintaining the sample flow rate.
Adding value by working with existing sample panel components, the AutoVREL can be installed over an existing VREL or a competitor product, as well as in a new installation.
In addition to its ease of use and high value for a low cost, the AutoVREL allows for non-manned startup and shutdown of the panel, eliminating the need for the usual two hours-plus of operator intervention to stabilize flow to analyzers during critical times when operators need to be focused on bringing the plant up to power.
The AutoVREL flow controller also improves safety. With manual panels, when a Thermal Shutoff Valve (Sentry TSV) trips, the operator’s inclination is to open the control valve to restore sample flow, which is a safety concern. The AutoVREL automatically takes care of this. When it is integrated with an optional Sentry TSV switch, it will detect the tripped shutoff valve thermal event and minimize the sample flow setting before the valve is reset.
The Sentry AutoVREL can be up and running fast, saving plants time and money just as quickly. There is no other product like it which offers ease of installation and use at a low price point.
Learn more about the Sentry AutoVREL flow controller here.
This article was originally published on our website.