In any land-based system that uses seawater processing, marine growth prevention systems (MGPS) are critical to protecting plant assets and avoiding downtime. For the power market, plants responsible for energy generation and supply; increasing operational efficiency and uptime are also key to success. Low maintenance requirements sit at the heart of these goals. Darren Dale, Global Product Manager at Evoqua Water Technologies, discusses the benefits of lowering maintenance and how to achieve this with electrochlorination MGPS technology.
One of the primary uses for MGPS is to treat seawater used in the cooling process. While seawater is a readily available, low-cost coolant, it is host to unwanted guests – micro and macro growth – and has a high salt content. These factors can cause significant corrosion to assets and further damage to the plant through blockages in equipment, which ultimately leads to downtime.
Electrochlorination is a preferred approach as it produces biocide (hypochlorite) simply bypassing seawater across a catalytic surface and applying an electric field.
While MGPS technology is therefore essential to keep a plant in operation, for organisations such as coastal power generation plants and refineries, reducing maintenance requirements is vital to current and future success. Today, the demand for power is high worldwide, as evidenced in an IEA report which found a 5% rise in global electricity demand in 2021. Unsurprisingly, it has also been predicted that the global water desalination market is likely to witness a rise, with a compound annual growth rate of 7.8% in the period 2018 to 2025. Desalination plants are vital components of many refineries and integrated water & power plants. In the case of refineries, this was evidenced by the Deloitte 2022 Oil & Gas Industry Outlook, which stated that as the industry rebounds, oil and gas companies are looking to reinvent themselves and focusing on financial health is part of this. So, there has never been a greater need to achieve the goal of increasing plant efficiency and reducing costs through lowering maintenance.
Yet, some traditional electrochlorination MGPS technologies are anything but low maintenance. For example, there are technologies on the market that require acid washing by an engineer to clean the MGPS on a regular basis. This can be a time-intensive task, when you consider direct supervision of acid washing is generally mandated or an entirely manual operation. Furthermore, unless plant production can be reduced, additional redundancy must be included in the design of the MGPS, necessitating more catalyst area, containing scarce and expensive metals. Furthermore, the acid washing process requires storing and handling, which comes with an inherent safety risk for employees and potential environmental hazards.
It is possible to eradicate these demands on engineers and risk, increase uptime and, therefore, save costs with the right technology solution. We know saving costs is a high priority today across the power market.
At Evoqua, we have used our decades of water treatment experience, and unique understanding of the power market, to design a leading MGPS technology that offers unrivaled low maintenance requirements. The leading Chloropac® system and its latest high-capacity cells are electrochlorination technology. It works by producing in-situ a dilute solution of sodium hypochlorite which is injected into the water circuit.
Key to the Chloropac system’s design, is its self-cleaning ability, which means no acid washing is required. The system can also be maintained in-situ versus other technologies which have to be removed from site and returned to the manufacturer. These traits not only significantly reduce engineering time for maintenance but allow system users to always operate at design output capacity, increasing uptime. The newest system offers a simple and fast switch out of cells which can be carried out on-site in around 30-60 minutes.
Through lowering maintenance, plant operators can unlock their goals of increasing plant efficiency and reducing operating costs, so they thrive in the current challenging economic environment – and the key is the right technology solution. With the wide range of benefits to be had from the right MGPS approach, this Chloropac® system technology is the perfect place to start.