Alutal Measure & Trust

Power generation

Aplicações
Ammonia storage

Vaporized ammonia is used in catalytic and noncatalytic reduction systems for emissions control. Ammonia is injected into the flue gas stream and acts as a reducing agent. It is also used to enhance precipitator efficiency for particulate control. Pure ammonia is stored in a pressure vessel rated for 250 to 300 psig. Aqueous ammonia (70 to 80% water) is stored in a tank rated for 25 to 30 psig. Storage requirements for aqueous ammonia are three to four times that of pure ammonia. Challenge Accidental atmospheric release of pure ammonia vapor can be hazardous, so safety and environmental measures may be required which affect the level control selected.

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Boiler blowdown tanks

The concentration of undesirable solids in boiler water can be reduced through the use of a continuous purge or blowdown system. A blowdown tank receives continuous blowdown from the steam drum and blowdowns of variable temperatures and pressures from the steam generator. A blowdown tank can also function as a gravity feed drain for the steam generator when the generator is drained for maintenance. Challenge Good boiler blowdown practices can greatly reduce a boiler’s water treatment needs and operation costs. Combustible mixtures left in a boiler due to improper purges, however, have been known to cause catastrophic explosions. Proper tank level controls are essential to ensure a safe and effective boiler blowdown system.

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Condensate drip legs

Placed along super heated steam lines, condensate drip legs (or drip traps) collect particles of moisture and drain off the accumulated condensate. Employed as a preventative measure against turbine water induction, drip legs can be placed along main steam lines, hot and cold reheats and steam extraction lines. When a level switch senses the upper level in a drip leg it opens a dump valve to remove the accumulated condensate. Challenge If particles of moisture escape condensate collection systems and enter the turbines, significant damage can result. Level controls used in condensate drip legs must contend with the high temperatures and pressures associated with these devices.

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Condensate receiver tanks

Steam generated in the recovery boiler is used to run many parts of a mill. Liquor concentration and paper drying are the largest steam users, followed by digestion, bleaching, and chip steaming. (Steam also drives a turbine cogeneration system if a mill is so equipped). A steam condensate system in the paper machine’s dryer section collects water for reuse in the mill. Challenge Steam condensate from the dryer drums enters up to half a dozen receiver tanks of the condensate return system. Level controls in these tanks ensure that water either is returned to the mill for reuse, diverted to storage, or discharged to the sewer. When the control senses the upper level in the tank it will actuate a dump valve to remove the accumulated condensate.

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Condensate storage

When the condenser hotwell level reaches the high point, a dump valve opens to drain excess condensate from the hotwell to a condensate storage tank. When loss of condensate from the turbine cycle is reflected in a low level in the hotwell, a make-up valve opens in the storage tank to supply make-up water to the condenser hotwell. Challenge Proper functioning of the liquid level control in the condensate storage tank ensures the proper supply of make-up water.

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Condenser hotwells

Steam enters the condenser where it cools and condenses into water before being sent to the low-pressure feed-water heater. The condenser hotwell serves as a water reservoir for the turbine cycle. When hotwell level reaches the low point, a valve opens to supply make-up water to the cycle. When hotwell level reaches the high end of the level range, a dump valve opens to move the condensate from the hotwell to a condensate storage tank. Challenge Water loss in the turbine cycle due to leakage, steam venting or other usage depletes make-up water. Level control in the hotwell ensures adequate make-up water is supplied to the cycle or diverted to storage.

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Cooling tower basins

Open-system cooling towers reject waste heat from the steam cycle by exposing the cooling water directly to the atmosphere. The majority of heat removed is due to evaporation and the remaining cooled water drops into a collection basin. Level control applications include a high level switch to avoid overflow conditions in the cooling tower basin. In a once-through cooling system, the water intake structure is often a vertical wet pit pump which requires high and low level sensing and possible pump control. Challenge Water infeed and basin levels of the cooling tower require level sensing and control. In frigid climates, a level switch can work in tandem with a resistance heater to protect standing water in the cooling tower basin against freezing.

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Cooling tower intake & basin levels

The hyperbolic cooling tower releasing clouds of water vapor is the iconic image of nuclear power. Warm water from the condenser is pumped to the natural draft cooling tower, distributed to remove waste heat to the ambient atmosphere through evaporation, and collected in a basin prior to being recycled back to the condenser. Challenge The cooling tower’s intake structure, typically a vertical wet pit, requires level sensing and pump control. Water basin level controls maintain level through the addition of make-up water and are frequently configured with high and low level alarms.

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Deaerators

The deaerator is an open-faced water heater which removes non-condensable gases from the feedwater. In addition to the condenser hotwell, the deaerator’s storage tank is the remaining reservoir in the turbine cycle. Positioned below the deaerator and before the boiler feed pumps, the deaerator storage tank serves as a surge tank for the boiler feedwater. Tank level is often controlled by a control valve on the condensate supply line to the deaerator. Challenge Pressure fluctuations are extensive in the deaerator storage tank and result in flashing. Level controls must contend with the tank’s fluctuating temperatures and pressures.

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Deionization tanks

Highly purified water is essential in processing premium grade and highly purified products in the chemical, pharmaceutical, beverage, cosmetics and electronics industries. Deionization (DI) is frequently used to remove minerals from water by passing water through two separate ion beds – cation and anion – followed by mixed bed saturation. Challenge Multiple bed DI units have pairs of tanks where an optional CO2 degasser may be placed in between. Single bed DI units incorporate both the cation and anion exchangers mixed in a single tank. In addition to monitoring feed water, a level control in the mixing tank will operate the transfer pump to route the purified water to storage.

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Demineralization tanks

Because modern high-pressure boilers evaporate several million pounds of water every working hour, the purity of feedwater circulating inside the boiler is essential. Chemical treatment reduces scale-forming materials and corrosive oxygen content. A Feedwater Evaporator can be used as an alternative method to chemicals by removing impurities through evaporating raw water with extraction steam. Most often, the purity of feedwater is achieved by chemical treatment. Challenge Because support chemicals for water treatment can include caustics, sodium hypochloride, sulfuric acid or other additives, individual chemistry and storage requirements will dictate the level instrumentation selected.

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Feedwater heaters

Feedwater heaters use extraction steam from the turbine to raise the temperature of water destined for the boiler. Water first passes through low-pressure heaters and into the deaerator where excess oxygen is removed. The feedwater then passes into the high-pressure heaters where it is further heated and pressurized. Two separate level control loops should manage each feedwater heater according to ASME standards. Challenge Feedwater heater level is controlled to (1) prevent level from rising into the extraction line; (2) keep the tube surfaces in the condensing zone immersed; and (3) keep the drain cooler flooded. Level instrumentation must withstand moderate to high temperatures and pressures and turbulent conditions.

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Flash tanks

A flash tank serves as a collection system for a variety of condensate drain lines. Flash tanks receive high pressure condensate which is then exposed to a low pressure steam source. When this occurs, a certain percentage of condensate will “flash” to steam at the lower pressure. This steam can be “recycled” on other low pressure steam heat transfer devices. Smaller in size than traditional flash tanks, flash separators utilize cyclonic action to instantly separate steam and condensate. Challenge Level measurement is necessary to control flash tank level. The challenges are elevated temperatures and pressures.

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Fuel oil storage

Fuel-fed ignitors initiate the boiler flame in coal-fed plants using natural gas or atomized fuel oils such as light grade #2 or heavy grade #6. Natural gas and propane can also be used. In combined-cycle plants, gas turbines often use natural gas and liquid fuel oils as ignition fuel. Large gas turbines are designed to operate alternately or simultaneously with both gas and liquid fuels. In dual-fuel plants, a False Start Tank will temporarily hold diesel fuel after an unsuccessful attempt to fire the turbine. Challenge Crude oils with lower flash points represent a greater fire hazard and require more extensive fire protection systems. Switches and transmitters should be safety certified.

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Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG) - Power/Utilities

Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG) from cracked gases for additional steam and power generation Challenges Improving heat rate efficiency through feedwater heater level control Utilities steam and condensate recovery system Optimizing makeup water treatment, energy management, steam generation cycle, condensate and waste heat recovery

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Preflash drums

Located in the preheat train of the distillation column, a preflash drum system separates the vapors generated by preheating before entering the heater or main column. This prevents higher heater firing or pressure drops and reduces vapor loading of the column to avoid flooding. Challenge Preflash drums create moderate foam that can affect measurement accuracy of liquid levels and decrease distillate production in the atmospheric column. Too low of a preflash drum level will cause pump cavitation of the flashed crude. Too high of a level will cause liquid carryover to the distillation column.

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Reboiler

Reboilers, or vaporizers, are heat exchangers that provide heat to the bottom of a distillation tower. They boil the bottom liquid to generate vapors which are returned to the tower to drive the distillation separation process. The reboiler may partially or completely vaporize the stream it receives from the bottom of the tower. Challenge Excess reboiler liquids (bottoms or blow-down) overflow a baffle where level is controlled by means of a level controller. If the reboiler level becomes too low, it will affect the maximum flow rate of bottoms product that can be drawn off. Inaccurate reboiler level can also degrade composition control for material balance control configurations.

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Reflux drum

Large-scale distillation towers use a reflux system to achieve a more complete product separation. Reflux is that portion of a tower’s condensed overhead liquid product that is cycled back to the top of the tower where it flows downward to provide cooling and condensation of the upflowing vapors. Challenge The reflux drum, or accumulator, serves as a distribution point for reflux and distillate. Condensed liquid leaves the reflux drum under level control. Drum level control is critical to ensure that the proper amount of reflux will return to the distillation tower. Poor liquid level indication can cause expensive operating problems and product degradation.

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Steam drums for power generation

The steam drum is the primary interface between water and steam. In a coalfired plant, boiler feedwater passes through the economizer and into the drum where the steam separates from the feedwater and is drawn off to the superheater. In combined-cycle operations, a Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG) serves the same purpose as a boiler. It is a gas-to-water heat exchanger that extracts energy from the gas turbine exhaust gases and uses it to create steam for the steam generator. HRSG Drums can be high or low pressure varieties. Challenge Maintaining constant liquid level in the upper part of the drum is necessary to provide the proper quality of steam. Instrumentation must withstand high temperatures and pressures.

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Water services

Service water is utilized for general plant services that include pump and instrument seal water, fire water, demineralization, cooling and make-up water supply. Storage tanks with a capacity to support three days to one week of operation, allow continued plant operations in the event the supply of water is interrupted. Collectors and storage tanks are typically fixed roof, vertical cylindrical steel tanks. Challenge Level measurement and flow detection devices are crucial for effective water source management. Typical measurement ranges are from 24 to 50 feet.

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Water wash tanks

The compressor of a gas turbine ingests a large amount of air containing particulate matter, aerosols of hydrocarbons and other organic compounds and gases. Although the larger particulate matter is filtered out, the other compounds are deposited on the compressor blades. Compressor washing removes this deposited fouling and restores the aerodynamic profile and compressor efficiency. Also used for cleaning generator or other machinery and equipment components, water wash is periodically discharged as waste water. Challenge Water wash is collected in a dedicated collection tank monitored for level with typical capacities of 50 to 100 gallons.

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