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Power Industry

Introduction

The energy industry is the very backbone of our industrial and domestic worlds, supplying essential energy to industrial, manufacturing, commercial and residential customers around the globe. The sector includes fossil fuel industries (petroleum, coal, LNG); electricity generation, distribution and sales; nuclear energy and renewable energy.

The energy industry attracts very substantial investment worldwide. This is because developed countries are looking to upgrade their aged fleets and transition to different fuel sources. Meanwhile, expansion continues in developing countries to meet growing demand fuelled by population growth.

Applications

Fossil Fuel Power Plants
Nuclear Power Plants
Renewables including solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, biogas, etc.

Gas Hazards in Power Sector

Process Area

Typical processes and associated gas detection issues

Fossil Fuel Thermal Power Plants

The production of electricity begins with the loading of fuel into a power plant. The fuel is burned in a giant furnace, and heat energy is released. In the boiler, heat from the furnace flows around pipes that are full of cold water. The heat boils the water and turns it into high-pressure steam. The heated steam flows at high pressure around a turbine wheel, the blades of which start turning as the steam flows past.

The turbine is linked by an axle to a generator, so the generator spins around with the turbine blades. As it spins, the generator uses the kinetic energy from the turbine to make electricity. Boiling hot water from the steam turbine is cooled in a condenser (which is a form of heat exchanger) then sprayed into giant cooling towers and pumped back for reuse.

Fuel handling and storage

The transport and pulverisation of coal poses a high risk of combustion. Fine coal dust becomes suspended in air and highly explosive. The smallest spark, for example from plant equipment, can ignite the dust cloud and cause an explosion that sweeps up more dust, which explodes in turn, and so on in a chain reaction. Coal power plants now require combustible dust certification, in addition to hazardous gas certification.

Coal pulveriser and boiler mill

Coal power plants generate large volumes of carbon monoxide (CO) which is both highly toxic and flammable and must be accurately monitored. A toxic component of incomplete combustion, CO comes from boiler casing leaks and smouldering coal. It is vital to monitor CO in coal tunnels, bunkers, hoppers and tipper rooms, along with infrared-type flammable gas detection to detect pre-fire conditions.

Turbine and generator

Hydrogen must be monitored, to prevent seal-oil system fires, unscheduled shutdowns and to protect personnel from fire. Hydrogen burns with a pale blue, almost invisible, flame that can cause serious injuries and severe equipment damage.

In addition, power plants must have back-up batteries, to ensure the continued functioning of critical control systems in cases of power outage. Battery rooms generate considerable hydrogen, and monitoring is often carried out in conjunction with ventilation.

Cooling Tower

The addition of disinfectant chemicals to the cooling tower reservoir is to prevent the build-up of micro-organisms. Ammonia is also dosed to maintain optimal pH in the system. Chlorine, ozone and ammonia are strong toxic gases and should be monitored in case of leaks. Leak monitoring is required in the chemical storage and dosing areas.

Power Transmission

Although non-toxic, SF6 is considered the worst greenhouse gas, having an atmospheric lifetime above 1,000 years. The use and storage of SF6 (and other fluorinated greenhouse gases, often called F-gases) are regulated in the US and EU. SF6 is also costly, so any leakage generates operational inefficiencies and higher operating costs.

Products for Power Industry

Portables
Clip SGD

Industrial gas detector designed for use in hazardous areas

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Gas-Pro

A multi gas detector offering 5 gas support as well as a dedicated pre-entry check mode and optional pump feature

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T4

Portable 4-in-1 gas detector with new sensor technologies

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Gas-Pro TK

Ideal for flammable gas detection at any concentration

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Tetra 3

Compact, robust and easy-to-use diffusion based detector

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Fixed Monitors
Xgard

Fixed multi gas detector

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Xgard Bright

Addressable fixed head detector with OLED display. Now available with MPS technology

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XgardIQ

Sil2 certified, versatile and transmitter compatible fixed detector available with alarm and fault relays

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IRMax

An ultra-compact infrared (IR) fixed gas monitor that delivers rapid, fail-safe detection of hydrocarbon gases and vapours

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Industry Insights

CASE STUDY
Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL)

BHEL needed an efficient gas monitoring system that would alert operatives to the presence of combustible gases in gas turbines and detect leaks that exceeded the safe LEL.

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CASE STUDY
A tailor-made – and safety critical – power plant engine solution

Crowcon has for some time provided a leading European power plant manufacturer with components for their engines, which are installed in power plants worldwide. However, in this case the product in question,  a gas engine for use in electricity production, generated some very specific requirements.

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CASE STUDY
Managing Personal Gas Detection in Power Stations

Power stations generate many gas hazards, so gas monitoring to a standard that complies with regulations is crucial. Read how Crowcon Connect is removing these burdens by securely uploading gas detection data and storing it in the cloud.

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