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Commissioning Power PlantExpert support for making the right decisions when going operational

The commissioning phase requires your full attention as it is of the utmost importance for the rest of your plant’s operational life. It requires you to make many decisions that will greatly influence the future performance, maintenance, and lifespan of your facility. The ultra supercritical coal-fired power plants of Rotterdam and Wilhelmshaven did not want to take a risk in this vital stage and therefore decided to call upon EMS (European Maintenance Support) and Laborelec for comprehensive technical support and advice.

The GDF SUEZ Group is in the process of commissioning two new ultra supercritical (USC) coal-fired power plants in Rotterdam (the Netherlands) and Wilhelmshaven (Germany). The Group recognizes the importance of this phase and has consequently brought together experts from a wide range of domains to thoroughly prepare and execute the commissioning of various components and process equipment. Among these experts are Laborelec staff. Their job is to reduce the risk of unplanned events and unnecessary costs during and after commissioning.

Reduce risks during commissioning

The commissioning is the final stretch before starting up the plant. Hence, the project team needs to be absolutely sure that every component and piece of equipment is ready for fail-free start-up and operation. Laborelec provided advice in various domains during this stage:
Chemistry. We reviewed the pre-operational cleaning of the boiler, including the supplier’s procedures. A vital step, because if not carried out properly, there is a 10% risk of having an incident costing up to 800,000 euros.

Rotor balancing. EMS and Laborelec experts witnessed the shop balancing of the main shaft line’s rotors. Based on their remarks, the manufacturer’s balancing procedure was modified. This was done to minimize the risk of high vibrations due to remaining unbalance during the on-site commissioning.

Oil analysis. Our oil analysis laboratory conducted a variety of tests to ensure that the oil circuits were clean enough for commissioning.

Materials. In our lab, we investigated tube samples to evaluate the thermal passivation, which is an essential step in the pre-operational cleaning procedure.

Assist in solving commissioning issues

When an unforeseen event does occur during commissioning, the issue needs to be resolved as quickly as possible to minimize the associated delay. Laborelec’s technical expertise proved crucial in the following cases:

Transformer. When a generator step up transformer was damaged, our experts in electrical equipment assisted EMS in finding the root cause of the incident. We evaluated whether the damaged machine could be replaced by a pooled spare transformer and monitored the quality of the repaired transformer.

Motor. When the stator end windings of a feedwater pump motor were severely damaged, our experts participated in the discussions with the supplier to improve the design.

Materials. During commissioning, components can already fail. Laborelec experts helped in several cases to determine the cause of the failure and evaluate possible repair or replacement options, such as in a case of cracks in the welds of feedwater tank nozzles.

Reducing future operation and maintenance costs

The commissioning phase is a vital step in a power plant’s lifecycle. Making the correct decisions will help prevent unforeseen problems during the plant’s remaining lifetime.

Zero Sampling of SCR. Laborelec assisted the plant staff in taking the right reference samples of the new catalyst. This sample testing is key for further performance follow-up, which contributes to limiting operation and maintenance costs.

Electromagnetic compatibility. We took measurements and provided recommendations to ensure the electromagnetic compatibility of the on-site power systems. More specifically, we helped minimize the impact of the variable speed drives on the proper functioning of nearby equipment.

Transformer quality. Before and after energizing, the condition of the main transformers was checked by analyzing the transformer oil in our in-house lab. Oil quality is an important indicator of a transformer’s proper functioning.