7HAUG 2019: Progress with centerline issues; non-drive-train topics dominate discussion

Now in its second year, the 7HA Users Group Conference fosters an open and transparent dialogue among users and the OEM on all aspects of the turbine, so that technical issues can be resolved and best practices shared. Because the 7HA fleet is relatively young, the user group’s steering committee has structured the event to drive strong collaboration with the OEM. For example, this year’s meeting, held in Greenville, SC, August 26–28, included tours of GE’s facilities and a social event for informal user/OEM interaction.

The first day is an open, user-only forum among the fleet leaders and others operating units, as well as users in the installation and commissioning phases. Newer users learn from more experienced HA site representatives.

The agenda for the second day, GE Day, is developed by the steering committee and GE, and covers technical issues, root-cause investigations, solutions for resolving open issues, updates on HA fleet statistics, operating modes, and field performance.

The 7HA community also hosts quarterly webinars to share updates throughout the year.

The steering committee was especially gratified by the overall growth in attendance and greater international participation as new 7HA user sites are added throughout the world. Present at the conference were representatives from five 1 × 1 combined cycles (CC), six 2 × 1 CCs, two 3 × 1 CCs (both outside the US), and one simple-cycle installation representing the first facility with hot selective catalytic reduction. The simple-cycle unit is currently the only one of its type worldwide.

The 60-Hz fleet leader had 17,217 total fired hours at the time of the conference, the 50-Hz leader 20,000+, as well as 340 factored starts. Although the latter site reported numerous trips, it was not possible to distinguish between customer-driven trips and machine-related ones.

GE reported the second day that it had secured orders for 96 HA units, 59 had been shipped, 40+ commissioned, and 39 had achieved commercial operation. By the time of this writing, the order number had grown to 100.

Although forums such as this focus on resolving issues, it is important to remember that the HA machine is breaking records for performance in terms of start times, turndown, output, efficiency, ramp rates, and emissions.

Progress abounds. For reference and context, a review of last year’s report on the inaugural 7HA Users Group conference is necessary, especially around four issues: first-stage bucket (S1B), axial fuel staging (AFS), train vibration, and control hardware and software—especially thermocouples.

Users at this year’s conference added only one significant failure event involving the generator (and a lengthy outage), although it should be noted this is not drive-train related.

Fortunately, based on the 2019 presentations, the AFS failure event appears to be specific to “cold-fuel/ high-starts” CC units and simple-cycle machines (which likely would be in peaking service with high starts), of which there are only a few; the S1B issue appears to be under control, at the time of this writing; and a new thermocouple design, being validated at one user site, seems to be working out, based on initial reports.

As shown below, hardware and control issues persist but these are hardly of the same pedigree because it’s the drive train components which represent the most advanced technology.

Given historical patterns in commercializing advanced gas-turbine technology, this is, actually, good news. Fleet leaders have a year’s worth of additional factored fired hours (FFH) and starts (FFS) and more machines have been commissioned.

But there’s no resting on laurels yet. One nagging conclusion from the “GE Day” portion of the conference (see companion article): The excessive start-to-start vibration issue, which clearly contributes to other O&M issues, is still proceeding towards a thorough root-cause analysis (RCA).

GE experts have identified a primary factor and corrective action for excessive and inconsistent start-to-start vibration, but are still investigating secondary factors. The good news is that when the vibration issue is resolved, other issues may be correspondingly eliminated or reduced in severity.

Users also have observed “distress” at the trailing edge of the first-stage nozzle (S1N), although no “events” have been associated with it.

Several issues with non-drive-train components appear to be rooted in process/organizational gaps between GE, its sub-vendors, and the EPC, though that gives users little comfort. They just want the responsible party to get them back on-line as quickly as possible. Another broad theme from the presented material: Many other technical issues are lacking satisfactory RCA-based explanations.

Other sub-systems, most notably exhaust assemblies and critical valves, are exhibiting technical issues common to multiple users. Keep in mind that non-drive-type issues are common to, and consistent with, most other advanced gas-turbine facilities since the beginning of the “boom period” in the 1990s.

S1B status. Only one site represented at the conference was still operating with the original S1Bs, which the OEM restricted to 6500 FFH; all others have the Gen II S1B replacing the original buckets, or units shipped with the new ones. By contrast, in one 7HA unit, the new buckets have exhibited “no issues during operation,” and will be thoroughly inspected this month after around 6700 FFH. These airfoils will be removed from service and tested; the user community is watching this development closely.

Explanations from GE for the active cracks resulting from the internal oxidation at the shank level “are varied,” according to users.

Start-to-start vibrations. S1B failures aside, the start-to-start train vibration issues may be more insidious. First, they contribute, even if not directly correlated, to less dramatic but still nagging problems which cause unit trips. Second, the OEM has not offered a full RCA explanation. A new load coupling is being tested and validated at a user site to help correct the vibration issue, but no word yet on results. Third, users report there is little consistency in the vibration measurement variations from start to start.

Counter-balancing this reporting, some users noted privately that units experiencing relatively normal vibration levels still exhibit many of the associated issues.

One 9HA user said “the explanation is not yet satisfactory” and the first fix, replacing an inlet plenum cone with a stiffer one, showed a net improvement but still “isn’t good enough.” Vibration is below the alarm point but still significantly higher than expected. The OEM is now “acting on the rotor mass balance to modify rotor excitations at this site.”

Several 7HA users listed some of the secondary consequences of machine vibration: loose wiring in electrical and control cabinets, structural cracks, cut wiring where wiring makes sharp turns against aluminum housing, trips on compressor bypass valves, failures with exhaust thermocouples, fire-protection water-mist nozzles detaching, and generator fixator torque issues.

One user reported that the OEM would soon be coming out with a GEK document addressing vibration through modifications to foundations.

Generator failure. The 2 × 1 CC site which experienced the generator failure on one unit after 8500+ FFH and 105 starts reported that an arc flash occurred at the collector prior to the failure, and endwinding dusting and loose ties observed at this time were addressed. A MAGIC (miniature air gap inspection crawler) inspection had been conducted before the failure. The unit that failed exhibited the least amount of endwinding dust.

There were no leading indicators or alarms prior to the failure, and other users noted privately that the failure may be specific to this model number and/or site.

The site rep asked rhetorically, was it mis-operation, improper reassembly, the fact that the OEM does not do a “bump” test” (frequency response testing on the stator endwindings), out-of-synch phase, or the significantly reduced number of collector brushes recommended by the OEM? The site is still proceeding through the RCA with the OEM, which reportedly had validated the auto-sync process during commissioning.

The generator in question is a 2016-vintage “leads up” with the three phases coming off the top of the unit.

AFS, combustor hardware. GE issued a Technical Information Letter (TIL) on the AFS indicating that cold-fuel/high-start machines are most affected. Cold fuel in this case refers to 80F-120F, although the term can refer to temperatures less than 300F. Two machines at the same site experienced forced outages caused by failure of the AFS fuel delivery pipes.

Modifications for the one site experiencing the most severe AFS failure included a change to a welded design for attaching fuel tubes to the “unibody.” The TIL recommends fuel gas leak detection and haz-gas detectors to indicate an imminent failure situation. One plant is validating the TIL recommendations.

A 9HA site reported issues with fuel nozzles, effusion plate, combustor liner, and the transition piece. The effusion plate cap parts “have been modified because of cracks and liberated pins” and the new design has shown “pretty satisfactory experience” after one year of operation. Cracks have been observed on liners but this was thought to be less of a forced-outage risk.

More than one site has observed spallation on the combustor unibody component. A user reported observing cracks in the transition pieces on the cold side, and a crack at the frame weld on the cold side, of the compressor outlet. This was labeled by the user as “a design flaw, aggravated by abnormal vibration and combustion dynamics.” The user commented about now suspecting the durability of the combustor generally.

Initial, final control elements. Many users are experiencing nagging issues with digital valve positioners (DVP), especially on fuel-gas valves, but also on other critical valves and inlet guide vanes. One user attributed six unit trips to the DVP issue. Several attendees clearly noted that high start-to-start vibrations contribute to the problem. They also noted that each valve has its own configuration.

What appears to be occurring at some sites is that the vibration causes problems with signals and connections, the unit trips, and then site personnel have difficulty performing the online diagnostics. OEM responses to site inquiries involve long lead times, mostly because this is sub-supplied equipment. For one thing, hardware and software reportedly can’t be obtained directly from the hardware supplier, which is responsible for programming of the software while GE is responsible for the valve and its performance, which is proprietary (though a common practice among turbine OEMs).

Another issue across several sites involves temperature control of the fuel-gas DVPs, which are sensitive to extraneous sources of heat. One 9HA site provided details of a forced outage caused by multiple electric gas-control-valve (eGCV) failures. Subsequent analysis upon disassembly showed a powdered metal deposit at the gap between the valve spring seat and shaft resolver link (which provides valve position feedback to the actuator drive), heavy wear of the anti-rotating bearing slot, and coupling-shaft damage (a shaft screw loosened and dropped out).

Oddly, similar symptoms have been observed with other eGCVs at the site, but no symptoms have been observed at this owner/operator’s other sites with similar valves. After this presentation, a user noted from the audience that they had replaced a GCV because motor amps had spiked up to 30-40 amps and the motor was overheating. Operators noted a gas-valve position deviation alarm, which was supposed to fail the valve closed, but instead was observed to be 29% open at shutdown.

The RCA on the matter continues but the cause of the wear is still not known. DVP failures were noted in last year’s conference report.

The story with the GT exhaust thermocouples (TC), also a source of copious discussion last year, is a bit cheerier. One user reported that exhaust TCs broke 11 times in 16 months. Two other sites are now testing the OEM’s upgraded TCs; one noted it has 12 of the new ones installed and they “have been successful so far.”

Exhaust sub-systems. Several users reported “excessive leakage” at the hot gas expansion joint between the exhaust diffuser and the casing. One site implemented the OEM’s new design in October 2018, which was then “corrected” in May 2019. “Long-term reliability needs to be confirmed,” he said.

Another user reported on exhaust-casing insulation defects observed after a full-speed/no-load (FSNL) test. Multiple insulation panel cover plates and washers detached, damaging several of the plates.

Gas leakage in this area also is causing the malfunction of nearby equipment—such as fieldbus cables, cooling-fan cables, and haz-gas detectors.

Myriad other issues. Users brought up a laundry list of control-system issues—including the integrity of flame detectors and combustion dynamics monitoring probes; problems with fieldbus connectors, device ID tags, and communications; and having to add and troubleshoot software logic. Likewise, a punch list of issues were raised with ancillary components like cranes, seals, DC system ratings, igniters and cables, fuel-gas heater, static-starter controllers, a variety of valves, complex insulation arrangements, and several more.

However, while there were detailed discussions around some of these topics, they tend to be one-offs and/or common to installation and commissioning experiences generally.

People and process issues. One reason users groups are invaluable is the collective leverage they provide for users to work more knowledgeably with their suppliers. They also are good reminders that not all root causes are technical in nature.

A user nearing the commissioning of new HA machines reviewed what was discovered during their oversight activities. This owner/operator hired third-party quality inspectors to review things onsite.

One overarching concern was that the OEM has what’s known as “free release” with its sub-vendors. As an example of a consequence, “we won’t have a true history of where our compressor blades come from.” There was general agreement that the OEM needs to improve sub-supplier quality assurance/quality control.

At least one user present intimated that the OEM’s quality processes may not be good enough, and that others should distinguish between parts for which GE does receive complete quality support documentation and those for which the OEM does not.

Seams issues between EPC and OEM also need attention and require diligence and a high level of owner/operator engagement.

One example involves critical valves; a user insisted that “you have to force GE to deliver quality.” Another user outside the US mentioned “many issues with other auxiliaries,” and that working with GE was “difficult.” A third mentioned that “GE does a terrible job with report writing.” A fourth noted that “communications between the OEM and EPC are lacking.” Finally, a fifth exclaimed that, when it comes to work under warranty, “the GE people for the non-GT part of the plant are inadequate.”

Get engaged—early and often. A variant of the old slogan about voting in Chicago applies here. Prospective users and those with units coming on-line or on order are urged to participate in the user-group activities as early as possible and begin developing your own comprehensive checklists for repeated review among owner/operator staff, OEM, EPC, and subsystem suppliers. As one user said, “it’s good to learn from experience, but better to learn from others’ experiences.”

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GE Day @ 7HAUG: Some permanent solutions in place, other root-cause analyses on-going

During the 7HA Users Group Conference second day, “GE Day,” high-level managers kicked off the event by proclaiming “significant progress in [corporate] restructuring,” HA technology investment is up in 2019, and “we are moving from financial metrics to operating metrics, and users should feel this going forward.”

GE officials shared progress on several issues discussed in the first HA User Conference last year to an attendee group that has swelled by 50%.

As the fleet matures into its fifth year, $2-billion has been invested in the HA technology to date, 96 units had been ordered at the time of the conference (total now stands at 100), 59 have been shipped, 40+ have been commissioned, and 39 are in service—10 more than at the time of last year’s conference—with more than 415,000 hours of commercial operation.

All but one or two HA plants are operating baseload. For seasoned power-industry veterans whose notion of “baseload” may be different, here it is defined as a higher than 40 ratio of factored fired hours (FFH) to factored fired starts (FFS). In a hint of performance to come, GE believes it can push maximum ramp rates from 60 MW/min to 90.

Approximately 80% of the first-stage-bucket (S1B) retrofit outages have been completed. FieldCore, GE’s field service organization, is now 12,000 strong—including 6000 craft, 3000 gas/steam engineers, and 2000 with other skills.

Users questioned executives about the internal measurements GE uses to ensure how well FieldCore team members are performing, and quality of final reports—a topic of discussion during the user-day sessions.

After the intro talks, specialists got down to the business of addressing specific technical issues, covered here largely in the order which they were presented. Keep in mind that, in some cases, the issues mentioned are specific to a certain site or a small group of users, and not fleet-level issues. Users are encouraged to check relevant technical information letters (TILs) and contact their GE reps concerning their units.

Rotors. A TIL was released on rotor-life calculation. Main points on rotor life were that maintenance factors provide a process to account for operational variation and are critical for optimized unit operations. Compressor discharge temperature and high ambient temperatures are the important parameters for FFH, while forced cooling during shutdown impacts FFS. Inlet air chilling has significant benefits in rotor life, the presenter noted.

Owner/operators were urged to “consider what it costs on the rotor side to deliver on ISO grid contractual obligations.” A full rotor inspection is required at published rotor life limits to “address accumulated damage.” TILs describe more than one life-limiting factor.

Referencing the release of the rotor life TIL, one user asked if any defects have been found on the rotors and the response was “none associated with the rotors.” The latest units feature “better materials in the middle of the rotor and different cooling strategies,” although the presenter stressed these improvements have nothing to do with the start-to-start vibration issues (see below). GE clarified this exchange, noting that this TIL was a convenient way to publish rotor maintenance factors, and does not suggest an issue.

Hexavalent chrome. GE issued Product Service Safety Bulletin (PSSB) 20180709A to inform users of potential contamination (yellow residue) that has been discovered on some parts during outages. This issue was not brought up in the user sessions, but owner/operators should “expect to find this material.” It originates in anti-seize compounds and forms as a reaction between calcium and chromium compounds at elevated temperature. The PSSB provides guidelines for EHS practices, including respiratory protocols and the handling and removal of this material.

Combustors. TILs have been issued for combustor hardware. GE reported that two units experienced outages because of failures in fuel delivery pipes. To address fuel-line leaks, users are encouraged to implement the axial fuel staging (AFS) leak-detection algorithm outlined in TIL 2194, and install the new bellows and flow-sleeve modifications. Hot fuel units, defined as 300F or higher, are not affected by this issue.

The outer fuel nozzle pre-orifice leak is considered a low-risk event—that is, it presents no downstream effects. No immediate action is required but users should build in time during a planned outage for weld repairs and plan to ship spare end covers to the GE shop for the weld repair. There is a NOx level impact of less than 1 ppm from this issue, noted the specialist

The RCA was described as “data shifts in combustion signals,” and “loose outer fuel-nozzle pre-orifice plugs allowing more fuel flow than anticipated.” Fuel switching may have caused this problem originally.

One user asked if there was a check to determine whether spare end covers had to be shipped back, and the response was to have the site’s GE rep evaluate them.

The center fuel-nozzle leak in 9HA.01 units can potentially lead to “base burning and damage to combustor and hot-gas-path hardware.” The risk is elevated in early operation. Smaller-diameter Omega seals combined with non-conforming end covers is the source of the issue, and seal changes are the recommended solution.

In 7HAs, minor cracks were discovered at the tips of center fuel nozzles at several sites. GE believes the cracks are benign and will continue to monitor them.

Hot gas path. Oxidation distress at the inner and outer sidewalls of the first-stage nozzle (S1N) seals is considered an unplanned outage risk, and a TIL has been issued to address it. The solution is to install new slotted seals at earliest opportunity and retune the unit to minimize the impact on NOx emissions, which can be as high as 3-6 ppm.

Missing material from S1N trailing-edge distress is caused by flaking in the compressor discharge casing and the cold side of the combustion components. Debris flows downstream and blocks impingement cooling to the trailing edge of the S1N. The RCA is still being worked through but GE recommends increasing borescope inspection scope during outages to include the cold side of combustion components.

Rubbing between the S1B and first-stage shroud (S1S) observed on some shroud segments, the subject of TIL 2141, can be addressed by changing 10 non-step shrouds to step shrouds. Concerns with fourth-stage shrouds for a small subset of specific units can be addressed through a configuration evaluation and validation tests.

Accessories. TILs 2149, 2125, 2144, 2110, and 2077 address accessories and controls.

The width of the exhaust aeroplate spans too far over the exhaust joint, specialists said, allowing excitation to force the leading edge to lift upwards and liberate. Recommendations are included in TIL 2149.

Exhaust leakage, a hot topic in the user portion of the conference, is caused by improper installation of the rope seal and the clamping bar inadequately compressing the rope seal. Fixing it requires two to three days per unit. If elevated temperatures are observed, users can also record axial and radial alignment of the diffuser, and install an insulation barrier to protect the hazardous gas panel and exhaust blower motor. For the 9HA exhaust expansion joint, improvements have been made to the flex-seal design.

Regarding exhaust thermocouples (TC), the hybrid TCs, considered an interim step, mitigate connector head and cable failures (but not other types of failures). The Gen II design, constructed of stainless steel instead of Inconel, includes a radiation shield. Units shipped in the last six months still have the original TCs, GE noted.

Oxidation from the 28 in. point to the tip of the wheel space TC is caused by misapplication of over-sheath material, and the TC is unable to withstand the temperatures to which they are exposed. A new design, based on Inconel 625 material for the over-sheath, is being made available “with significantly less lead time than the exhaust TCs.” Field validation is in progress and a TIL will be released soon.

A final presenter under auxiliaries stressed the importance of inlet air filtration as well as meeting the inlet-filter-house leak-detection specification, GEK 111330.

Control systems. To address reported loss-of-HMI events, GE noted that users were often unaware of redundancy loss when one of three servers becomes “unhealthy.” However, the Mark VIe is still protecting the plant. Users are urged to check vSAN disk space consumption, storage drivers version, and the Dell storage controller; review newly added suggested maintenance schedule and troubleshooting documented in GEH6851 rev B; and perform periodic manual system health checks.

GE indicated it was moving to Dell Wyse 5070 for Windows and away from Dell Wyse 7020 for Linux.

Issues with fieldbus and the digital valve positioners (DVP) were raised by one attendee. GE said it was difficult to troubleshoot Fieldbus and recommended a site’s IT techs undergo training in Houston. In the meantime, GE is working with Woodward to improve troubleshooting.

Train vibrations. Start-to-start vibrations continue to be a focus for GE and its user community. GE specialists have identified a root cause described by the “mass shift/system resonance” effect. Excessive and variable movement may be associated with changing circumferential position of the compressor blades on Stages 4-14, with system level resonances amplifying the effect.

The current “Phase I” corrective action is a redesigned, solid, heavier load coupling, around 10% heavier than the original. One has been installed and is currently being validated, with “positive response noted on bearing vibration,” according to GE.

With this primary root cause completed and corrective action identified, GE specialists are turning their attention to secondary factors driving the vibration issues. Unique thermal transients are induced during cold, warm, and hot starts, turndown, and part load operation. Turbine exhaust casing and supports “exhibit visible contribution to movement.” Analysis is in process to determine if future corrective action could be necessary.

Transient vibration limits have been instituted: alarm at 0.65 in./sec, runback at 1.0 in./sec, and trip at 1.25 in./sec.

GEK 63383 Rev G addresses potential modifications to the foundation to address vibration. This is considered an EPC issue. GE is working with customers on timing for when new couplings will be available for each site. In the meantime, GE continues to address the vibration issue with balance shots. This issue is not preventing customers from operating their units, stressed the OEM.

Punch list items. This year, based on requests from several participants with units currently being installed or commissioned, a GE commissioning expert covered best practices, lessons learned, and a punch list of topics that users should focus on. As most of these are site-specific; fall within the gray area of shared responsibility among user, OEM, and EPC; represent standard “no brainer” items for a successful commissioning; and/or are complaints common to most if not all facilities, they are not listed here.

Capping off the day was a comprehensive tour of GE’s Greenville facility, when users got a first-hand look at a good portion of that $2-billion investment in the HA technology, and take-home bottle openers manufactured with GE’s latest additive (3-D printing) production processes.

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Make sure cybersecurity issues don’t overwhelm an acquisition

Plant digital systems are not necessarily top of mind when acquisitions are undertaken, reminds Tyler Ward, VP security of Infinite Group Inc (IGI), Rochester, NY. That includes cybersecurity. Organizations are not only inheriting equipment, employees, finances, and practices of the other party—but also the cybersecurity practices (good or bad) and accompanying potential cyber risks.

Yet very few M&A processes measure the cyber-maturity and cyber-risk levels of organizations prior to, and during, the standard M&A due-diligence process. This can prove costly, leaving the most secure organizations exposed to unexpected risk (see later example), force them out of compliance, and even result in taking on an active network compromise or data breach.

To begin to address this gap in M&A due diligence, consider the following questions:

    • Are we inheriting a compromised network or unsecured information or non-compliant security posture? What are the potential penalties?

    • What new cybersecurity and privacy regulations are we subject to?

    • Will we inherit “reputation damage” based on a data breach from the acquired or merging organization?

    • Will we be able to control the cybersecurity posture of the new enterprise post M&A?

    • Is our current staff and budget sufficient to scale the new enterprise under a larger scope of regulatory and cybersecurity responsibilities?

    • Does the poor cybersecurity posture of the acquired or merging organization offer leverage to negotiate a better price?

    • Should we give the acquired or merging company an ultimatum to raise the cybersecurity posture prior to M&A or deal with it afterwards?

    • When was the last cybersecurity assessment performed and what were the results? Should we demand a cybersecurity gap assessment as part of the Letter of Intent?

This is just a start. The list can go on and include lengthy reviews of specific metrics to gain a complete understanding of the new risks, alignments, and benefits.

Forewarned is forearmed. So, how can the existing M&A due diligence integrate cybersecurity and information security processes? These are the generic activity buckets: Choose a trusted set of standards and cybersecurity framework, conduct a thorough cybersecurity gap analysis and risk assessment, estimate costs around the risks and mitigation, as well as potential penalties for non-compliance, and formulate a comprehensive cyber risk mitigation plan.

Only by delving deep into the risks associated with people, processes, and technologies can you paint a clear picture for informed decisions. By placing the cybersecurity and regulatory posture of organizations under the microscope, businesses can forecast costs associated with various compliance requirements.

Better to learn from others. The following example is presented in the spirit of “learning from your mistakes is good, but learning from the mistakes of others is better.”

A power generation organization with 10 remote sites and staff of nearly 100 faced a challenge in acquiring several remote facilities. Directly after the acquisition of the smaller firm’s IPP facilities, the parent organization set out to conduct an audit of the IT networks with three main goals: Assess security, functionality, and compliance among the independent sites.

The audit resulted in multiple egregious findings that did not conform to NERC-CIP protocols and standards. Several systems were found to be running outdated and unsupported operating systems, personnel were not properly vetted for performing maintenance activities, vulnerability remediation was not taking place, and most importantly, the IT environments were not properly segmented from the operational networks.

The findings were taken to the board room at the parent company, which had begun to schedule and budget for the necessary changes. Immediately linking the smaller and more vulnerable networks to the parent com­pany was not an option because of the risks posed. The mitigation strategy would require several million dollars and tie up company resources. The parent organization subsequently decided to “kick the can down the road” until the next fiscal year with a larger budget.

This proved a costly mistake. Shortly after the acquisition was finalized, an incident occurred. After some suspicious activity on a desktop, several pieces of malware were found that did not have active signatures in known anti-malware databases. This indicated the malware was either new or specifically obfuscated for reasons of stealth.

The malware in question was quickly able to exploit the workstation on which it was residing because of a combina­tion of poor vulnerability management and improper protections at the desktop level. The attackers were able to compromise four other workstations before being detected by an employee. Since the organization did not have strong vulnerability and patch management practices, this left it open to malicious attacks.

The incident response team spent more than two weeks sifting through logs, examining systems, assessing system vulnerabilities, interviewing staff members, and formulating a report. The total engagement cost the organization tens of thousands of dollars in lost employee time, incident response fees, and subsequent mitigation.

This case study confirms what’s already known: Criti­cal infrastructure sectors are under heavy attack by both domestic and foreign adversaries. Many independent power producers, energy brokers, and distribution entities are prime targets and vulnerable to such attacks. Robust cybersecurity processes within the due-diligence program will help ensure that the parent organization isn’t victimized by the oversights and cyber inadequacies of the acquisition target.

About Infinite Group Inc: IGI is a full-scale cybersecurity service provider and developer of Nodeware™, a cloud-based vulnerability assessment solution that performs up-to-the-minute inventory scanning and vulnerability detection to protect businesses from security threats. 

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New IAPWS documents provide guidance on generator cooling water chemistry, film-forming substances, air in-leakage

The Power Cycle Chemistry (PCC) working group of the International Association for the Properties of Water and Steam participated in the 2019 IAPWS annual meeting in Banff, AB, Canada, Sept 29 – Oct 4, where it announced the availability of several new Technical Guidance Documents (TGDs) and provided updates on the development of others.

The annual meeting of the IAPWS (pronounced eye-apps) Executive Committee and working groups attracted 92 scientists, engineers, and guests representing 16 countries. Purpose of the conference is to connect scientists with the engineers who use their information. Both groups of professionals benefit: The researchers/scientists learn about problems seeking resolution while the engineers gain access to the latest research results.

IAPWS Executive Secretary Dr R Barry Dooley of Structural Integrity Associates Inc, well known to the global power-generation community, said the meeting was extremely productive for the PPC working group. He reported that four new TGDs had been released in the last year, urging those responsible for maintaining top performance from their electric generating plants to download the documents at no cost from the organization’s website and benefit from content compiled by the global thought leaders in powerplant chemistry.

The latest TGDs published by IAPWS are the following:

    • “Application of film-forming substances in industrial steam generators” offers guidelines and processes for the proper use of FFS.

    • “Chemistry management in generator water cooling during operation and shutdown” is of particular importance to combined-cycle owners.

    • “Application of FFS in fossil, combined cycle, and biomass powerplants.” This updated document provides guidelines and processes for the application of both FF amines and FF amine products.

    • “Air in-leakage in steam/water cycles” addresses the detection and measurement of air in-leakage as it relates to optimum cycle chemistry and maximum thermal-cycle efficiency for a wide range of generating plants.

Eight additional TGDs, introduced between 2008 and 2016, also are available free-of-charge on the IAPWS website. They offer a wealth of practical information on topics such as steam purity for turbine operation, phosphate and sodium hydroxide treatments for steam/water circuits of drum-type boilers, instrumentation for monitoring cycle chemistry, how to measure carryover of boiler water into steam, etc.

Dooley said several whitepapers and new TGDs are in progress—including FFS for nuclear plants, corrosion-product monitoring for cycling plants, demineralizer-system integrity and reliability, geothermal steam chemistry, and flue-gas condensation. Plus, work has been started on a document targeting electric boilers.

He added that the number of TGDs continues to increase, providing robust, practical, and technically correct water and steam guidance to industry. Note that existing TGDs are reviewed and updated periodically to ensure they are maintained current and relevant.

A status report on the PCC-related International Collaboration (IC) between Canada and New Zealand on corrosion of boiler steels in the presence of mixed contaminants was included in the Banff PCC discussions. A new IC was approved related to corrosion product sampling analysis and assessment to provide more data for the ongoing PCC initiative in that area.

The next IAPWS meeting will be held in Turin, Italy, Sept 6 – 11, 2020.

Finally, users wanting to learn more about specific aspects of the TGDs, and the experience of the industry’s owner/operators with them, can post questions to the HRSG discussion forum chaired by Bob Anderson on the Power Users website. An alternative is to attend the annual meeting of the HRSG Forum with Bob Anderson where significant discussion time is allocated to these topics.

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