Condenser Tubes Cleaned with darTT™ Technology
Improvements to traditional hydro blasting and reduced CO2 emissions
Tube Tech teams employed the most technically-advanced methods to achieve the highest standards of condenser cleanliness at this UK power station. Tube Tech’s contract for the operation at the power station gave it a dual role – the cleaning of two condensers and inspection of one.
Two of the main condensers at the power station were operating at reduced efficiency as a result of deposits on the inside of the tubes. Cleaning is a huge task in itself as there are a total of 81,480 tubes – 40,740 in each condenser. An additional function for Tube Tech technicians was to check the tube-wall thickness of one condenser and to establish if any required replacement or plugging. The customer also wanted downtime kept to a minimum as the turbines were undergoing overhaul and the condenser cleaning operation was going on at the same time as other work.
To achieve the highest standard possible Tube Tech employed a combination of its new darTT™ condenser bullet cleaning system and Tube Tech’s own Rotaflex. In this operation metal scraper bullets are propelled down the tubes using high volume water, removing the offending deposits on their way. This was followed by eddy current inspection in which an electromagnetic probe measured tube-wall thicknesses and highlighted any excessive wear.
The benefits of the darTT™ bullet system include uniform cleaning of each tube and a high level of safety as no high-pressure water is used. The system cleans very effectively, resulting in extended tube life through improved surface condition. Tubes cleaned with this method have a better vacuum and an improved heat transfer rate. There was a noticeable increase in performance with the power station reporting increased output accompanied by savings in costs through lower fuel consumption. AEP was able to report lower CO2 emission through less fuel burnt. Checks on the tube walls revealed that none needed replacement and the cleaning and inspection operation was successfully completed within agreed time scales.
An AEP technician, overseeing this part of the overhaul operation at the station, said Tube Tech had previously carried out successful cleaning contracts. Of the recent operation there he said: “The Tube Tech team did a good job on the condensers. The more efficient the condensers, the more efficient the turbines will be and that will be reflected in lower operating costs.”
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