Nitrogen Generators for Power Plants: Importance, Types, and Benefits
Electrical power generating plant equipment requires the utmost care and maintenance to function at optimal levels and prevent damages, even when they’re not currently in use. Peak power generating plants don’t run continuously and must be shut down for varying periods of time. To prepare them for these shutdowns, power plant operators must oversee the preparation of the Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG). Failure to perform a lay-up properly can cause corrosion on the inside of the boiler system. This is a serious concern that can result in a series of safety risks and equipment damage. If this is something you’re dealing with, then keep reading to find out how nitrogen generators for power plants can protect your equipment against the elements.
Importance of Nitrogen Generators for Power Plants
Onsite nitrogen generators for power plants are widely used to supply a sustainable and reliable supply of high-quality nitrogen. Nitrogen is an inert gas that can be used for a number of different applications in power plants but are primarily used to displace the presence of oxygen in the interior of boiler tubes that have been exposed to moisture due to leaks or other damage. Applying nitrogen on the inside of these tubes prevents the development of corrosion and rust. .
Onsite nitrogen generators, particularly Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) systems, guarantee that your facility always has a steady supply of nitrogen whenever it’s needed. Nitrogen generators for utility plants serve the following functions.
Nitrogen Purge for Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG)
An HSRG is a heat exchanger that recovers heat at extremely high temperatures in the form of steam from a hot gas stream, such as a turbine. Corrosion is one of the biggest concerns that threatens the lifecycle and functionality of an HSRG as it can contaminate the entire system with dangerous iron oxide rust particulates. Power plant operators can choose to perform either a dry or wet lay-up to properly prepare for a system shut down.
Wet lay-ups are typically employed for short shutdowns and to prevent metal loss and corrosion formation that can occur if the system is drained of excess moisture and chemical compounds. Dry lay-ups are used for longer durations of shutdowns. The preparation process involves draining the boiler of all moisture and applying an inert gas, usually nitrogen. Nitrogen gas is slowly pumped into the heat exchanger as the moisture is filtered out to prevent vacuum stress. Nitrogen is the gas of choice to protect against corrosion due to its inert tendencies and its ability to completely deoxidize power plant equipment.
Blanketing Ammonia Storage Tanks
Among its many other applications, nitrogen can also be used to blanket or purge ammonia storage tanks in power plants. Nitrogen enters the ammonia storage tank vapour space and blankets the interior of the system. Nitrogen blanketing is an effective method of preventing external oxidized air from infiltrating the tank vapour space during low temperatures that cause the ammonia vapour pressure to drop below atmospheric levels.
Natural Gas Evacuation
With more and more power plants making the switch to natural gas, the risk of fire and explosion has increased. Due to its inert nature, nitrogen gas is the ideal solution for preventing fire or explosion in the event of a natural gas leak. In the event of a natural gas leak, nitrogen gas is immediately expelled through the onsite piping system to fill the entire space and quickly purge the presence of natural gas.
Nitrogen gas is inert, which means it’s neutral and won’t have a negative reaction when it comes into contact with natural gas.
What Types of Nitrogen Generators Are Used in Power Plants?
There are several different types of nitrogen generating systems that can be used for various applications in power plants.
- PSA nitrogen generators consist of two pressure vessels that contain carbon molecular sieve (CMS). When compressed air enters the pressure vessels and goes through the CMS, the CMS effectively adsorbs the oxygen in the air and leaves a stream of process nitrogen to pass through. The microscopically small pores of the CMS allow the tiny oxygen molecules to penetrate through and be effectively separated from nitrogen in ambient air. PSA nitrogen generating systems are particularly efficient when nitrogen purities greater then 98% are required.
- Membrane nitrogen generators are commonly used in dry lay-up applications. Oxygen is filtered from the dry compressed air stream through polymeric fibres. This process results in gaseous nitrogen. This system is compatible with a number of industrial systems when nitrogen purity requirements are 98% or less.
- Custom designed nitrogen generators are ideal for power or utility plants that require specially engineered nitrogen generating systems. Since each facility has unique safety and operational parameters in place, nitrogen generators can be custom-designed to meet the requirements and specifications of your facility to produce as much nitrogen as necessary with adjustable purity levels for various applications.
What Are the Benefits of Onsite Nitrogen Generators for Power Plants?
- Improved Boiler Maintenance
- Improvement in Efficiency
- Cost Savings
- Improved Safety Standards
- Lower Environmental Impact
Nitrogen Generating Systems from Advanced Gas Technologies
Advanced Gas Technologies is a leading and trusted supplier of state-of-the-art PSA and membrane type nitrogen generators that can be custom-designed to meet the requirements of any industrial facility, including power plants. Installation is quick and easy. Our expert technicians follow stringent workplace health and safety protocols to reduce the risk of potential damages or physical injury. Onsite nitrogen gas generators save money and increase operational efficiency by eliminating nitrogen gas delivery fees and transportation time. In addition to decreasing your environmental impact, this also ensures you always have a steady and reliable supply of nitrogen gas whenever you need it. Contact us today to learn more.