A large parabolic trough solar power plant in the southwest part of the U.S. uses two 125 megawatt (net) steam turbine generators to generate more than 250 megawatts of energy. Since the power plant uses solar energy to create steam that drives a turbine, the plant faces many of the same concerns as a conventional fossil fueled power plant.
Therefore, it is critical to safely monitor and measure the quality of the steam and water used when generating steam. For this reason, a conventional steam and water analysis system (SWAS) was part of the original construction.
The Need for a System Designed for Operator Safety
The original SWAS supplier with only expertise in analytical equipment provided a design that wasn’t optimized for the plant’s sample conditioning needs. This made monitoring and measuring the operational key performance indicators more time consuming.
In addition, the SWAS design exposed the plant operators to high temperatures through an inadequate steam vent. The operators needed additional training to ensure their knowledgeable operation of the system as well. Seeking a safe sampling solution and training, the power plant searched for a new SWAS strategic supplier to improve their operation.
Sampling Solution and Training Improves Operation and Safety
The power generation site’s existing system was audited by a new supplier to understand the operators’ needs and evaluate potential solutions. Several areas were identified that needed to be addressed to improve the safety and reliability of the sampling system. The proposed solution included the ability to blowdown the sample lines in a way that controlled pressure and temperature, eliminating the customer’s safety hazard.
The strategic partner’s design team developed a solution, received customer approval and shipped in time for installation during the customer planned outage. To address the need for installation supervision and operator training, the power plant contracted services for installation and training on the new system to ensure the operators were knowledgeable on all aspects of the operation of their new equipment.
This power plant application highlights how important it is to select a strategic supplier, one with an extensive network of highly trained service staff with industry leading knowledge of sample conditioning for steam and water, and high quality components and systems provides holistic and comprehensive support for its customers.