Recovering Generation Losses due to Faulty Air Heater Operation


Faulty systems operation is a major factor which results in significant generation losses. The air heater is one system that recovers waste heat and increases the performance of the power station, thus making it one of the mayor components that contribute to the amount of power generated. It requires the proper operation and maintenance of individual systems and the plant as a whole to ensure the ability and availability of plants to reliability and safely generate power at a maximum. This case study will focus on the draught group of a power plant and show the impact of a faulty air heater operation on the generated power. 


Combining on-site measurements with expected results from a model such as Flownex assist with the early detection of faults and abnormal process behaviour in plants. Early detection offers the ability to act fast and recover power generation losses. This together with increased systems performance as a result of proper maintenance and operation offers the benefit of increased power generation which inherently leads to minimized operation expenditure and increased capital income for the power plant. 


A power plant Draught Group network was developed in Flownex. For comparison, plant data was obtained from flow measurements taken at the induced draught (ID) fan inlet. Abnormalities in the measurements triggered an investigation of the performance of upstream systems. On Flownex, the operations of upstream components were varied until the same results as the plant measurements we obtained. In doing this, Flownex provided a tool which enabled the identification of the component that caused the problem. In short, combining the measurements with the Flownex model results narrowed down the under-performing system which gave rise to the root cause. In this case, it was a failure in the operation of an air heater. 


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