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Helping the Group achieve greener power generation

The GDF SUEZ Group aims to operate its power generation fleet in the greenest manner possible. In doing so, the Group not only complies with environmental regulations, it often anticipates new standards. Laborelec closely follows evolutions in environmental legislation regarding wastewater, cooling water, and flue gases, among others. Our experts boast considerable expertise in areas such as flue gas emission monitoring and pathogen control in water systems.
In 2010, Laborelec contributed to several European pilot projects researching new technologies aimed at reducing emissions. At the same time, our experts suggested innovative monitoring methods to help power plants comply more efficiently with regulations.

Reducing atmospheric emissions at PCCC pilot installations

Total Petrochemicals integrated a new cogeneration unit into their site in Feluy, Belgium. Laborelec provided recommendations to ensure seamless integration of the unit into the existing internal and external electrical network.

Compliant with grid code

Post-Combustion Carbon Capture (PCCC) units capture CO2 inside an absorber tower using an organic solvent. This implies a possible risk of emitting solvent residues into the atmosphere. Two ongoing European pilot projects involving PCCC units have asked Laborelec to fine-tune the operational settings of the installations to avoid these organic emissions.

Laborelec was asked to participate in the EU-backed Esbjerg pilot unit in Denmark as well as in a PCCC pilot in Rotterdam (Netherlands). In both projects, the flue gas is washed inside an absorber tower with an organic solvent that absorbs CO2. During this process,
there is a risk that a small fraction of the solvent could leave the process. Monitoring these emissions is necessary to fine-tune the operational settings of the plants so that these emissions are prevented.

Using FTIR monitoring, our experts are able to identify operational settings that minimize organic solvent residue emissions.

Continuous monitoring of emissions Before being released into the atmosphere, the flue gas (almost CO2-free) passes through a water washing section that removes any organic residues. This washing can be optimized by fine-tuning operational parameters such as the washing flow rate, the washing temperature, and the temperature(s) inside the absorber. To be able to carry out this fine-tuning, emission levels must be continuously and closely monitored in order to link the concentration of organic substances back to the various operational settings. Laborelec has the expertise and tools to monitor these emissions. In 2010, we purchased a Fourier Transform Infra Red (FTIR) system to enable online monitoring. This allows a more rapid identification of the optimal plant settings that will rule out emissions of organic solvent residues.

Microbiological cartography of wastewater circuit

Following an unusually high Legionella concentration in the wastewater circuit of the Ruien Power Plant in Belgium, Laborelec initiated a cartography of the entire wastewater stream. The project will generate new insight into which of the individual microbiological indicators to look for in each part of a wastewater circuit.

To lower the temperature before discharge into the Schelde River, the Ruien Power Plant installed a cooling tower on its wastewater stream. Laborelec however observed unusually high concentrations of Legionella in the cooling tower blowdown. Whereas Legionella normally occurs primarily in the summer, this concentration remained high throughout the year.

Identifying the cause of the problem

In order to develop a durable solution, Laborelec suggested carrying out an extensive microbiological cartography of the entire wastewater stream. Our experts undertook microbiological measurements at various points of the process and analyzed sludge. This enabled us to determine that the initial Legionella growth was taking place within the lamella clarifier. Research will continue in 2011 to establish efficient remedial actions. Additional microbiological inspections will be carried out on the deSOx installation further upstream to identify its impact on the rest of the process.

The project is certain to generate valuable information for use in other power plants. The cartography will highlight which microbiological aspects to look for in each part of a wastewater treatment plant and establish remedial actions as a durable remedy to Legionella.

Key Facts

Successful renewal of all Belgian accreditations

Emission measurements at power plants must be carried out by accredited laboratories. All of Laborelec’s accreditations in atmospheric emission measurement services were renewed in 2010. This includes accreditations from the Belgian Accreditation Organization (BELAC) as well as from the various Belgian Regions in regards to calibrations of monitoring devices and flue gas analyses. The renewal of these accreditations underlines the quality of our services.

ClO2 dosing installatio n improves wastewater quality

Laborelec helped the Ruien Power Plant in Belgium implement a continuous chlorine dioxide (ClO2) dosing installation to reduce the concentration of Legionella in their wastewater cooling tower. The ClO2 is used as an alternative to bleach and has far less aggressive effects on the environment. It is the first time that such a full scale disinfection process has been installed at an Electrabel power plant. Laborelec followed up the fine-tuning of the system and helped find the lowest possible dose that would still be sufficient to effectively deal with Legionella.

Laborelec has the expert knowledge to precisely fine-tune gas turbine burners after a shutdown.

Gasturbine mapping expertise recognized by leading manufacturer

After a gas turbine shutdown for maintenance or following an incident, the turbine must be accurately mapped during its restart. In other words, the burners must be adjusted in a way that minimizes their environmental impact and maximizes electrical efficiency. Such mapping requires advanced measurement knowledge. A leading gas turbine manufacturer now calls upon Laborelec experts frequently during mappings, recognizing and appreciating our expertise and flexibility.

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