As severe weather events grow make sure your ACC keeps up
Whether you call it “weather” or “climate,” severe weather events are increasing in both number and severity, which means hot and cold days may be more intense and more frequent, regions surrounding your plant may be ravaged by fires and smoke, and ice and snow events may be more prolonged. Remember, your air-cooled condenser (ACC) is inhaling whatever is in the air and, like your lungs, bad stuff is being deposited on its heat-transfer surfaces.
All these are excellent reasons to spend an hour viewing the webinar conducted in late September by Conco Services LLC on ACC cleaning and leak detection. Fouled tubes can rob a plant of performance, especially on hot days; a 20% loss of air flow across the tubes leads to a 33% increase in turbine backpressure on a vacuum steam system, reminded Gary Fischer, national sales manager and presenter.
Thoroughly cleaning tubes with an automated water wash system (amply detailed in the presentation) can add 15 to 18 MW of output for the example given. One plant in the UK pegged its weekly savings at over $18,000.
Regarding leaks, Fischer told his audience that higher levels of tube leakage are observed at sites prone to freezing conditions, especially when the winds come from the same direction most of the winter. Ercot’s catastrophic grid meltdown in February, focusing the industry’s attention on winterization, should be motivation enough to make sure your ACC is ready for winter. Consider helium-based tube leak detection done by pros to be part of that preparation.
Fischer’s presentation is available in the recorded webinars section of CCJ’s website. For prep, you may want to quickly review the summary of last year’s Conco presentation on the same subjects in CCJ No. 65 (2021) p 66.
- Automated online cleaning system is set up on a typical air-cooled condenser