CCC Norte III: Successful winterization plan increases plant reliability – Combined Cycle Journal

CCC Norte III: Successful winterization plan increases plant reliability

38 CC Norte III

Owned by Abeinsa

Operated by NAES México

907 MW, 2 × 1 7F.04-powered combined cycle equipped with a Toshiba steam turbine, located in Chihuahua, Mexico

Plant manager: Armando Burgueño

Challenge. 38 CC Norte III is located in a region of Mexico with one of the country’s most extreme climates—very hot summers and extremely cold winters. Temperatures as low as -19C have been recorded. High wind speeds are another characteristic of the area.

High winds and low temperatures in wintertime were wreaking havoc with instrumentation—especially level, pressure, and flow transmitters, which were arranged in two of three logic. Out-of-range or lost data, typically attributed to freeze-up of sensing lines, often caused turbine/generators to trip. The result: High EFOF (equivalent forced outage factor) and financial losses.

Solution. In 2021, a year after the plant began commercial operation, diesel-oil-fired hot-air generators were installed to reduce the impact of low temperatures on critical instrumentation (Fig 1). However, this solution was far from ideal. One reason: O&M technicians had to supply diesel to the hot-air generators every couple of hours to keep them in service.

Encapsulating in thermal boxes all transmitters working with water/steam column lines was the solution, along with thermal insulation of exposed lines (Figs 2 and 3).

Results. The table tracks historical EAF (equivalent availability factor), reliability and EFOF data and shows the dramatic improvement gained by migrating from the hot-air generators to the insulated lines and cabinets. The migration was completed early in 2023 and highly successful, as evidenced by comparing the data for January and February 2023.

Another plus was the safety, environmental, and cost benefit of eliminating the diesel-fired hot-air generators.

Project participants:

Armando Burgueño Santacruz, Rafael Sarabia Rodríguez, Javier Ramírez Gutierrez, Francisco Javier Soqui Siqueiros, Juan Jose Carlos Contreras, María Guadalupe Valdez Zabalza, Eleazar Velderrain Alcaraz, and Flavio Cesar Virgen Rey

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