COLUMBIA, S.C. (March 24, 2009) – An innovative solution to a pesky problem has earned South Carolina Electric and Gas Company’s (SCE&G) Jasper Generating Plant a spot as one of 13 finalists for a national award.
The editors of the Combined Cycle Journal, a publication about gas turbine power plants, have announced that Jasper Generating has been nominated for a “2009 Best Practice Award” under the category of “Operation and Maintenance”.
The 875-megawatt gas fired plant, located between Hardeeville and Tillman in Jasper County, is primarily used during intermediate to peak periods of energy use by SCE&G customers. That means the plant’s three, 100-foot tall heat recovery steam generators are frequently drained of water and re-filled, allowing oxygen-rich water to be introduced. While oxygen is critical to human life, it can also considerably shorten the life of a generator and its components by causing pitting, corrosion and tube failures. Boiler tube failures resulting from oxygen-related corrosion can result in unexpected, significant downtime for many plants like Jasper.
The Jasper team decided that incorporating high-tech, gas transfer membranes to remove oxygen from the water would not only eliminate the need for other chemical additives, but reduce the amount of oxygen in the water below 20ppb (parts per billion) and eliminate the source of pitting and corrosion.
Jasper Plant Manager Steve Palmer, says Maintenance Engineer Don Belle, working alongside Lab Analysts Pete Pye and Tricia Kinney, collaborated with DPC Automated Controls, Inc. to build a gas transfer membrane device called a skid, which uses nitrogen to effectively deoxygenate the makeup water before it enters the steam cycle.
According to Belle, under the previous system, water comprised of about 10 ppm (parts per million) oxygen (high levels) would be pumped into the drums. Using the gas transfer membranes, the plant has been able to reduce dissolved oxygen to about 1 ppb, which will ensure the continued reliability of the HRSGs over the life of Jasper. “All of this sounds very technical,” says Belle, “but it’s as simple as keeping the plant on line when our company and ratepayers need it most and preserving our investment in these expensive pieces of equipment.”
Scott Schwieger, Senior Editor of the Combined Cycle Journal, says finalists will be honored at a special luncheon on Monday, April 20 in Birmingham, Alabama, at which time the winner in each category will be announced.
South Carolina Electric & Gas Company is a regulated public utility engaged in the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity to approximately 650,000 customers in 26 counties in the central, southern and southwestern portions of South Carolina. The company also provides natural gas service to approximately 307,000 customers in 34 counties in the state. More information about SCE&G is available at www.sceg.com.