A Connection between Cycle Chemistry & Condenser Configuration

Harpster, T.J., Harpster, J.W., & Welch, W.C.

“A Connection between Cycle Chemistry & Condenser Configuration” The 29th  Annual Electric Utility Chemistry Workshop, Champaign, IL, June 2-4, 2009.


The most important contributor to power plant chemistry upset conditions and to the overall plant thermal efficiency is the condenser. In-leakage into the subatmospheric pressure, or shell side, of this important balance-of-plant component is responsible for most system wide corrosion, loss of availability and loss of heat transfer in boiler tubes due to deposition of corrosion byproducts. Two sources of this problem are air in-leakage through a large variety of leakage sites providing corrosive oxygen entry and circulating water in-leakage through cracks or holes in cooling water tubes providing acidic or alkaline water containing minerals that cause corrosion and deposition throughout the condensate/steam cycle. This paper discusses these impurities and how they are measured and treated to reduce their harmful consequences. Also discussed is the effect that condenser configuration has on dissolved gases in condensate, particularly from very low air ingress values that result in high iron and copper ion content and short life of resin beds. Also presented is the significant benefit to eliminate the deleterious effects of high air in-leakage on dissolved gases in condensate by proper retrofit of a typical condenser.

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