Nitrogen for Boiler Layup
Construction of natural gas generation facilities are replacing coal fired power plants due to the environmental impact of coal burning. The US Energy Information Administration expects that 2016 will be the year that Natural Gas surpasses coal in the mix of fuel used in U.S. power generation. The report cites low natural gas
prices recently and environmental regulations as the driving force to the growth of natural gas plants. Natural gas power plants, in addition to being
an economical and relatively clean source of energy, also have the ability to cycle off and on more easily that coal power plants. Cycling is often
used to handle peak energy demands and to supplement alternate energy sources.
As gas fired Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG) power plants are cycled more often, proper layup of HRSGs when they are not in use is very important.
Problems associated with improper boiler layup include corrosion and pitting on both the gas and water sides of the HRSG, maintenance issues, startup
delays and water chemistry issues. Nitrogen is an essential tool in helping to alleviate these issues, and has become the preferred technology
since nitrogen does not introduce any foreign chemicals to the boiler.
Many power plants use a Parker on-demand nitrogen generator which separates nitrogen and oxygen from a compressed air source. This is often a safe,
cost effective way to supply nitrogen. Parker nitrogen generators are also used at these plants to purge natural gas lines prior to repair or maintenance,
blanketing demin water tanks and supplying gas seals on natural gas compressors.