The Monitor

Production Process Insights

Power plant retrofit solutions require knowledge, creativity

Posted by Sentry Equipment on 3/8/16 2:08 PM

Power plant using a steam and water analysis system

Because many of the nation’s power plants were built some time ago, it often is a challenge for project managers to update the steam and water analysis (SWAS) system by retrofitting the plant with needed new technology within the existing facility footprint.

A loyal and valued company customer was experiencing this issue as operations management looked to update their SWAS. One of the nation’s largest power plants in the generation of electricity, this power plant featured four coal-fired units capable of producing 3,376 megawatts of electricity, or enough energy to power more than 1.9 million homes annually. It was critical that the plant continued representative sampling and analysis within the steam and water chemistry cycle.


For continued safety and performance, the plant continually invests in maintaining the facility in peak operating performance. The original steam and water sampling and analysis system was installed in 1975. At that time, it met the needs of the plant, but today it was found to be outdated and no longer serving the primary goals of the plant, which were to:  

  • Maintain plant safety, supporting approximately six cycles and load variances per year and increasing efficiency, with high quality steam

  • Be ecologically sound by burning as little coal as possible to achieve wattage output, and minimizing consumption through boiler efficiency and reducing the output of wastewater

  • Stay economically competitive by reducing costs while meeting EPA emission regulations, and staying price competitive against other low-cost energy sources such as oil or renewable energy sources



One of the water analysis laboratories, where the new SWAS was to be installed to replace the original, outdated systems, was located on the second floor of the plant. Therefore, the system needed to be delivered to the lab via elevator. However, with the facility designed and built over 40 years ago, it did not have a freight elevator large enough to carry a new fully assembled system.


The lack of elevator capacity posed a unique problem, to which our company engineers were able to apply their considerable experience and expertise with similar situations. What started as a phone call and a simple hand sketch became a custom modular solution. This allowed the new system to be built and shipped in sections – to be assembled into a complete system on-site once it was transported to the second floor laboratory. Because our company was able to meet all the plant steam and water sampling and analysis needs with this unique solution, the customer was pleased to realize its retrofit goals.

Relatively often, these types of power plant retrofit issues require custom solutions – solutions that Sentry engineers can provide by meeting any application, anywhere.

Learn more about our steam and water sampling systems here.

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Topics: Power, Steam & Water

Written by Sentry Equipment

With proven sampling expertise since 1924, Sentry products and services provide business operations the critical insights to optimize process control and product quality. We deliver true representative sampling and analysis techniques to customers around the globe, empowering them to accurately monitor and measure processes for improved production efficiency, output and safety. Standing behind our commitments, we are determined to tackle any application, anywhere.

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