Instrumentation, Methods & Analysis Tools for Comprehensive Condenser Testing, Monitoring & Troubleshooting

Harpster, T.J., & Harpster, J.W.

“Instrumentation, Methods & Analysis Tools for Comprehensive Condenser Testing, Monitoring & Troubleshooting” ISA Electric Power Conference & Exhibition, Rosemont, IL, May 12-14, 2009


Proper monitoring philosophy in combination with available, accurate and reliable instrumentation for comprehensive condenser performance testing, monitoring and troubleshooting is presented. Practical engineering guidance resulting from the use of advanced instrumentation with proven utility has contributed to the identification of new beneficial performance indicators. These will be discussed and illustrated employing data from case studies. The case studies show how the new instruments and developed comprehension have contributed to: implementing safe operating practices, modern test codes modifying power plant operations, improving maintenance and optimizing various condenser components resulting in maximization of unit performance as well as controlling water chemistry.

Condenser monitoring data from operating plants utilizing an online analytical software package will also be discussed and used to identify the root causes of chemistry upsets and excess pressure, and to show how end users not only can gather data from selected instrumentation, but more important, interpret the data to identify actionable items. Some of the case study results include: reduced condensate dissolved oxygen, performance factor increase, equivalent back pressure reduction, heat rate reduction, increased effectiveness for noncondensables removal and measured maximized heat transfer coefficient.

The presented material is organized to address condenser personnel of varying technical, engineering and science backgrounds. This paper will introduce them to new instrumentation and practices that have been recently adopted by industry technical guidelines and are unique to the power industry.

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