Flow monitor helps power station meet compliance
Killingholme Power Station in North Lincolnshire has benefitted from the installation of a new flow meter to measure mains water usage. The plant, which can use nearly 1,000l/d water, including river water for cooling and the mains supply for steam generation, faces fines if excessive use occurs.
The station runs a two-shift system, which means they switch on and off twice a day. The mains water, which is conditioned for steam generation, passes through a 101mm (4”) pipe into a storage tank.
The normal flow rate can be near 100m3/h and a flow meter is required to measure the volumetric flow rate into the tank. The original meter broke down in 2011 and was found to be obsolete; a new flow meter was fitted in April 2013.
Centrica Energy, part of the British Gas Group, owns and runs Killingholme, which is a combined gas turbine power station and began operation in 1994. It can send out more than 3,000GWh of energy annually when the station is running at full load.
Jon Dixon, Centrica’s control instrument technician, determined that to avoid costly and disruptive downtime in the plant the replacement flow meter would have to be easy-to-fix without any need to break into the system. He compared suppliers and, according to Buckinghamshire-based instrumentation company Micronics, found that its Ultraflow 3000 offered the best value for money.
The device uses non-invasive ultrasonic sound transmission and detects liquid flow velocity inside closed pipes.
Dixon explained: “When ultrasound is transmitted between the transducers, the speed at which the sound travels through the liquid is accelerated slightly by the velocity of the liquid through the pipe. When ultrasound is transmitted in the opposite direction, the flow of the liquid causes the transmitted sound to decelerate.
“The subsequent time difference is directly proportional to the flow velocity in the pipe.”
Micronics has ambition to use Ultraflow throughout Centrica’s network and in similar applications in other industries, including in the building services, energy management, power generation, chemical, pharmaceutical, petrochemical and food industries. The company said that it renders the use of mechanical meters unnecessary and is an excellent alternative to cutting pipes.
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