Determining vacuum quality and the overall health of turbine condenser exhausters can benefit users with huge savings through load optimization. Further benefits can be realized through minimizing forced power outages, and the systematic capability of providing organization-wide predictive maintenance and control. Additionally, accurate air in-leakage and dissolved oxygen measurement correlation's mean reduced corrosion, chemical treatment and maintenance costs. The real time data provided by the RheoVac Sentry system allows plant personnel to easily determine if air in-leakage, degraded exhauster equipment, or fouled condenser tubing is the cause of excess back pressure.
"With power shortages nationwide and electricity prices increasing exponentially, the combination of added fuel costs and power generation losses can add up to millions of dollars very quickly," says Bob Curry, INTEK Marketing Manager. "Amid such rising costs, it is possible for users of the RheoVac technology to realize the return on their investment in a very short time."
Based on INTEK's proven single-probe RheoVac Monitoring Technology, the new Sentry system enables users of large steam power generation equipment to maximize turbine efficiency by providing probes at multiple points to monitor condenser and exhauster performance. Having multiple sensing points on an extensive condenser vacuum system allows for greater detail in system analysis. This in turn dramatically reduces air-in leakage search times while individual pump problems are readily identified and system validation remains continuous. INTEK customers report significant cost savings from having the RheoVac information available to diagnose and troubleshoot any condenser performance problem.
While not a cure for inevitable air in-leakage problems, continuous monitoring through the RheoVac system detects air in-leakage before excess turbine back pressures occur, warning the user to make necessary corrections and thereby avoid cost penalties that can vary by plant based on size, age, heat rate, fuel costs, and geographical location. EPRI research shows that a single 400 MW unit can easily waste $125,000 annually for each 0.1" HgA increase in back pressure caused by air in-leakage. Additionally, because of operating dynamics, back pressure changes of 0.3" HgA generally cant be detected by traditional in-plant measurements.
Exclusive RheoVac technology, developed by Dr Joseph Harpster and patented by INTEK, Inc., has been in use since 1994. In addition, INTEK has been manufacturing the Rheotherm® line of flow instruments since 1987. These instruments are used worldwide for precise, reliable liquid and gas flow monitoring.