The success of human activity in today’s world depends on continuous, reliable energy and power generation. Both are critical to maintaining the health and well-being of our global populations.
The demand for safe and reliable energy and power generation is expected to grow as people in countries across the world gain access to electricity. Regional energy requirements vary significantly depending on available resources to generate power, oversee local climate change regulations and manage greenhouse gas reduction.
Energy produced from fossil fuel sources such as coal, oil and gas, with gas being the greener option of the two, have proven to be staunchly reliable over decades. The relatively recent emergence of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, hydroelectric and geothermal technical achievements offer comparatively green options that lead to cleaner air.
Power generation is connected to the electrical grid with multiple flow measurements required to monitor the energy produced while increasing overall plant efficiency, which implements the optimal solution for the best possible outcome while complying with environmental regulations.
Panametrics Solutions to the Power Generation Industry
The Panametrics XMTC is a compact, rugged, fixed thermal conductivity-based transmitter that measures and analyzes the hydrogen concentration in a power plant generator. It also delivers special three-range software that allows the operator to monitor the CO2 purge process during the startup and shutdown of a generator.
Hydrogen, or H2, is used as a cooling gas for most power plant generators because of its high thermal conductivity and low viscosity, which makes it an efficient coolant that also reduces windage on the plant’s generator shaft, resulting in higher power output.
The purity of H2 in the generator is crucially important, as operating the generator as close as possible to 100% purity increases efficiency and reduces the risk of explosion from air leakage. Moisture can be a contaminant as it reduces the thermal efficiency of the H2 gas and the overall efficiency of the generator.
Panametrics ultrasonics flow meters have been deployed in power plants for:
- Sea water, raw water, cooling water, washing water and wastewater, from 15mm to 5.5m in size (1/2” to 18’) in a penstock
- Boiler feed water at high pressure and temperature, condensate
- Natural gas and syngas
- Utility gases such as air, nitrogen, oxygen and steam (from LT and LP to HP and HT)
- Fuel oil and diesel oil
- Hot thermal fluids, molten salts and brine
- Air and gas stack
- Acid and other caustic solutions
Main drivers of this technology:
- Withstands flow with a high turndown ratio
- No drift over time
- Energy efficient, as flow meters do not generate a pressure drop
- Low OPEX
- Increases process availability with no downtime
- Highly reliable
- Smart meters with embedded diagnostics assess the ‘health’ of devices
Panametrics offers multiple solutions for moisture measurement, using both aluminum oxide and laser technologies, in transmitter and multi-channel analyzer configurations.
The presence of moisture can also trigger corrosion and arcing, causing electrical components to fail. The blanketing gas sulfur hexafluoride, or SF6, protects power plant circuit breakers. When moisture mixes with SF6 gas, the result can damage a breaker.
Again, moisture is the culprit when mineral oil is used as an insulator in power plant transformers. Too much moisture in the transformer mineral oil can cause sparking and breakdown of the paper insulation.
The safe and efficient operation of a power plant requires tight control over an array of processes within the plant. Multiple flow technologies are used, with operators focused on high availability, high reliability and low operational expenditures generated by energy-efficient meters.
Critical gas and moisture measurement applications function primarily for power plant generators and the distribution side of a plant. One example of a process requires the cooling of a generator, which can be adversely affected by contamination from moisture or air from the coolant gas. Moisture can impede many processes in a power plant, which depend on a significant number of flow measurements from cooling water to air intake, boiler feed water to steam, demineralized water to natural gas, raw water to thermal fluids, and diesel oil to air stack.