Within the wide field of energy production, there are many different processes, but they all have one thing in common: they all need process water. The whole water treatment process with reverse osmosis, chemical conveyance and dosing, neutralisation and water distribution can be 100 percent fabricated and installed with highly reliable and totally corrosion-free plastic piping systems.
Waste water needs to be neutralised before being discharged into public sewage treatment plants. All these operations must be properly monitored and controlled with M&C. For alkaline neutralisation, several chemicals are commonly used, like caustic soda or lime milk. For acids, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid or carbonic acids are often batched. Precise dosing results in a reduction of chemicals and longer periods of dosing. Chemical savings and less water discharge plus energy savings due to reduced pump capacity add up to unbeatable TCO of plastic piping systems.
Dosing or dilution of chemicals, especially harsh ones, requires highly specialised and safe operations. Depending upon the media, GF specifies the most suitable piping material and jointing technology. A double containment system to convey harsh chemicals with optional automatic leak detection is also available for maximum safety on site. This means customers receive cost-reducing solutions over the entire lifetime of the system.
Other applications where power companies can profit from installing GF system solutions are gas distribution lines, flue gas desulfurisation and safety showers.
Gas distribution lines are reliable and efficient by using non-corrosive systems with full traceability of welding technology, guaranteeing safe use for over 50 years. The easy maintenance is possible under pressure, enabling repairs without interruption of consumption and durable leak-tight systems with low-dig installation methods.
What impact does the use of chemicals have on the condition of piping in power stations?
Water used for power plant cooling is chemically altered for purposes of extending the useful life of equipment and to ensure efficient operation. Demineralised regenerants and rinses are chemicals employed to purify waters used as makeup water for the plant's cooling system. Cooling tower blow-down contains chemicals added to prevent biological growth in the towers and to prevent corrosion in condensers. Chemical corrosion happens only when a pipe transports corrosive chemicals or water which contains dissolved oxygen. In steel or cast iron pipes, the metal reacts chemically with water and oxygen to form. Galvanic corrosion is common in metal pipes due to the existence of many dissimilar metals in a pipe.
For all the above mentioned applications, metal piping is used and for power plants at coastal sites even ductile iron piping. Engineers at power stations are therefore looking for the best solution to protect all piping from chemical, galvanic or salt water corrosion.
What are the benefits of using corrosion-free piping systems?
Metal pipelines need to be protected and constantly monitored for corrosion and possible leakages. This is not necessary when choosing the most suitable GF plastic piping system.
Highest chemical resistance means no rust, no incrustation and, as a consequence, significant energy savings due to long-lasting system solutions. Additionally, experience has shown that there are over 15 times fewer leaks compared to steel in water distribution lines. One-hundred percent traceability in welding technologies designed for the specific systems results in the highest quality of the complete installation. In the end, this alone can reduce the loss of potable water by about 20 percent, thus also saving money.
How can plastic piping help ensure that a power plant generates a lower carbon footprint?
The carbon footprint represents the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted in the development, engineering, production, transportation, usage and recycling of each product during its whole lifetime. In a comprehensive study, Plastics Europe identified significant savings in energy consumption and greenhouse emissions when metal products were replaced with functionally identical plastic products. For example, the carbon footprint of PE piping is five times lower than of a comparable steel pipe.
Since 2009, Christina Granacher, Head of Global Market Development and Innovation, has led a global team which manages eight market segments: energy, water treatment, water and gas distribution, chemical process industry, building technology, food and beverage, shipbuilding and microelectronics. She joined Georg Fischer Piping Systems in 2004 as global market segment manager for the chemical process industry and power plants. She holds a degree in plastic engineering.