While CFB boilers are typically known for their use of lower cost, alternative fuels (including low sulfur fossil, renewable, and other fuels), operators of these boilers experience significant reliability and maintenance challenges, such as forced boiler outages arising from premature tube failure.
And as with most businesses, today power companies are looking for ways to create environmental sustainability through reducing harmful emissions in innovative and economic ways.
To do this, many power plants are looking for ways to leverage their operations and maintenance budgets to extend the useful life of their equipment so they can spend more time operating and less time doing maintenance. This means more generating capacity to the grid, and more dollars to the bottom line.
One CFB power plant, Scrubgrass Generating Plant in Kennerdell, Pennsylvania, has extended its outage interval from 6 to 18 months through proactive maintenance and protection of its boiler tubes. Scrubgrass is fueled by waste coal–a low-energy discard of coal mines presents significant operational challenges due to the highly erosive bed ash that fuels the boiler.
Integrated Global Services (IGS) worked with Scrubgrass as it has with other power plants and refineries to create a cost-effective turnkey solution involving proprietary coatings, ceramics, mechanical repair, and outage maintenance services to achieve greater life expectancy of this highly erosive environment.
Plant manager at Scrubgrass, Todd LaCrosse said: "Preventative maintenance is a critical component of our operations. Working with IGS to create a turnkey program to extend our outage interval has been instrumental in increasing our reliability, profitability, and reducing our maintenance costs. IGS has a proven record in the industry, and many other CFB power plants like Scrubgrass have inquired as to how we were able to achieve this kind of life extension of our tubes."
IGS and its predecessor companies were among the early innovators in the effective protection of CFB boilers. The company is a leader in the technological innovation and application of surface protection systems designed to solve problems of metal wastage in challenging operating environments. IGS designs solutions that increase plant capacity, increase equipment availability, and reduce unplanned downtime.
IGS has its own Technology Research Center in Richmond, Virginia, US, dedicated to the ongoing research and design of on-site metalspray and automated weld overlay techniques, and the evaluation of protective material performance using the largest database of erosion and corrosion test results in the world.