Preventing Condensation in Gas Turbines Before Combustion
Electric heaters play a critical role in power generation. In nuclear power they are a driving force, creating the steam that turns in the turbines. Although gas turbines use combustion, not steam, electric heaters can still play an important part in safety and in ensuring the longevity of the turbine system. This is achieved through the prevention of condensation before combustion.
The Risks of Condensation
Condensation is not just a little water under the bridge. In a combustion system, it can cause significant damage leading to safety hazards, equipment failure, and/or expensive repairs.
Water Droplets in Turbines
In a gas turbine, combustion propels air quickly. If there is enough condensation water droplets can form. The combustion can cause these droplets to move at high velocity, like liquid bullets, resulting in significant damage to turbine blades.
In the short term, this damage causes reduced efficiency in the turbine. Over a longer timeframe it can cause total failure and will likely require replacing the turbine blades.
Water is the most common cause of erosion on the planet. This can occur through rainfall, submersion, or condensation. However, in piping systems, it is usually condensation that does the greatest damage.
One of the main types of erosion in the systems is Liquid Droplet Impingement, erosion caused by water droplets. The droplets form from condensate travelling at high speeds or from getting trapped in debris. The droplets repeatedly impact piping, usually at bends. This causes the thinning of the pipe wall through erosion. As a result, corrosion occurs prematurely and cracks or holes can form in the system.
While there is a definite conscious movement to reduce emissions for “greener” practices, excess exhaust emissions should also be avoided due to their destructive nature.
When condensation is allowed to form in the gas turbine, there is a significant increase in exhaust emissions. The extra emissions can damage the fuel nozzle, leading to inefficient operation, damage to components, or premature equipment failure.
Reduced Equipment Lifespan & Efficiency
All of the above factors can contribute to reductions in equipment lifespan and/or efficiency. It’s important to take steps to prevent, and remove, condensation in gas turbines before combustion occurs. Electric heaters are the ideal solution for this purpose.
Using Electric Heaters to Prevent Condensation
Electric heaters are particularly well-suited to this task. Preventing condensation requires superheating fuel gas to extreme temperatures. The advantage of electric heaters here is that they are capable of achieving high temperatures quickly, accurately, and efficiently.
The high-temperature capabilities mean condensation-free combustion. The accuracy ensures the safe preheating of combustible fuels. With electric heating, all of this is achieved efficiently, with fewer resources used and results achieved faster.