Level Solutions for Open Atmosphere Sumps

Power generating facilities have large, open atmosphere collection basins known as sumps that are usually found in wastewater treatment areas. Often constructed of concrete, with depths ranging from four to ten feet, sumps function as collection and treatment sites for waste liquids ranging from storm water runoff to excess make-up water. open atmosphere sumps

Sumps can be used for collecting many different types of waste liquid, but no matter the liquid it stores, a sump plays a very important role for a power generation facility. Keeping waste properly contained protects power plants against accidents and damage.

Magnetrol® has produced an applications brochure for the power and utilities industry, detailing measurement challenges and solutions for each step of the power generation process. This blog post is part of an occasional series exploring each application in detail.

Level Measurement Challenges and Considerations

Level controls in these areas must often tolerate corrosive media, harsh chemicals, liquids with high solids content and punishing weather conditions. With many possible uses for sumps, chemical composition and temperatures will vary. Any instrumentation selected to monitor sump level should be chosen with the specific waste liquid in mind for maximum effectiveness. Proper level control will also help ensure the continuous operation of collection and processing basins.

Level Measurement Solutions for Open Atmosphere Sumps

MAGNETROL has produced level measurement solutions for open atmosphere sumps and collection basins:

  • Models A10 or B10 displacer-actuated switches
  • Eclipse® Model 706 guided wave radar transmitter
  • Echotel® Models 300 or 335 non-contact ultrasonic transmitter
  • Model R82 pulse burst radar transmitter

More Information

For more information on level measurement solutions for open atmosphere sumps and other power industry applications, download the power industry brochure.

power generation

Posted in Power Industry | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Level Solutions for Service Water Storage

Service water is treated water that is used for specific industrial purposes. In the power generation industry, service water is utilized for general plant services. These include pump and instrument seal water, fire water, demineralization, cooling and make-up water supply.

This treated water is stored in tanks around the facility. In the event the supply of water is interrupted, storage tanks with a capacity to support three days to one week of operation allow continued plant operations. Water level in these tanks must be monitored to ensure there is always an adequate supply.

service water storage

A service water storage tank.

Magnetrol® has produced an applications brochure for the power and utilities industry, detailing measurement challenges and solutions for each step of the power generation process. This blog post is part of an occasional series exploring each application in detail.

Level Measurement Challenges and Considerations

Level measurement and flow detection devices are crucial for effective water source management. Since the treated water is often used for essential services such as cooling and fire prevention, low water level could lead to accidents or explosions. Collectors and storage tanks are typically fixed roof, vertical cylindrical steel tanks, and typical measurement ranges are from 24 to 50 feet. The instruments selected must provide accurate readings in these tank conditions.

Level Measurement Solutions

MAGNETROL has produced level measurement solutions for service water storage:

  • For point level:
    Models B10 or B15 displacer-actuated switches
  • For continuous level:
    Eclipse® Model 706 guided wave radar transmitter; Pulsar® Model R86 pulse burst radar transmitter; Echotel® Models 300 or 335 non-contact ultrasonic transmitters

More Information

For more information on level measurement solutions for service water storage and other power industry applications, download the power industry brochure.

power generation

Posted in Power Industry | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Level Measurement Solutions for Demineralization Tanks

Power generation plants rely on boilers and feedwater heaters to produce necessary steam. Because modern high-pressure boilers evaporate several million pounds of water every working hour, the purity of feedwater circulating inside the boiler is essential.

Ensuring pure feedwater can be achieved using different methods. A feedwater evaporator can be used as an alternative method to chemicals by removing impurities through evaporating raw water with extraction steam. However, most often the purity of feedwater is achieved by chemical treatment. This chemical treatment takes place in demineralization tanks, which transform the raw water into water that will not harm or corrode the boiler.

A demineralization tank.

Magnetrol® has produced an applications brochure for the power and utilities industry, detailing measurement challenges and solutions for each step of the power generation process. This blog post is part of an occasional series exploring each application in detail.

Level Measurement Challenges and Considerations 

Because support chemicals for water treatment can include caustics, sodium hypochloride, sulfuric acid or other additives, it is important to choose level instruments that will be able to withstand these harsh conditions. Managing the water supply level requires instrumentation that maintains its accuracy even when exposed to chemicals. Small nuances in how the demineralization tanks are monitored relative to level technology can have a dramatic effect on the day-to-day practicality and reliability of the type of instrument(s) used. Individual chemistry and storage requirements will dictate the level instrumentation selected.

Level Measurement Solutions

 MAGNETROL has produced level measurement solutions for demineralization tanks:

  • For point level:
    Models T52 or T62 float-actuated switches
  • For continuous level:
    Eclipse® Model 706 guided wave radar transmitter or E3 Modulevel® displacer-actuated transmitter

More Information

For more information on level solutions for demineralization tanks and other power generation applications, download the power industry brochure.

power generation

Posted in Power Industry | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Level Measurement Solutions for Flash Tanks

Flash tanks are a key component of the steam generation and condensate recovery cycle. 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. 

The flash tank provides a means of accommodating liquid and impurities from the boiler, facilitating energy recovery through the use of flash steam. Up to approximately 50% of the energy can be recovered through the use of flash steam routed to heat exchangers or to the deaerator to support the deaeration process.

Magnetrol® has produced an applications brochure for the power and utilities industries, detailing measurement challenges and solutions for each step of the steam generation and condensate recovery process. This blog post is part of an occasional series exploring each application in detail.

Level Measurement Challenges and Considerations

Level measurement is necessary to control flash tank level and keep it within acceptable ranges. An easy way to ensure optimal performance is to take advantage of a specific technology’s ability to reliably address the level in the flash tank. This can be accomplished in a plug-and-play type installation and commissioning format (foregoing calibration, external hardware or inputs).

Flash tanks often have elevated temperatures and pressures, which can make it difficult to make reliable level measurements. It is important to select a technology that can withstand these harsh conditions and provide accurate readings unaffected by temperature or pressure.

Level Measurement Solutions

MAGNETROL has produced several level measurement solutions for flash tanks:

  • For point level:
    Model B40 float-actuated sealed cage switch
  • For continuous level:
    Eclipse® Model 706 guided wave radar transmitter with a 7YS steam probe
  • For visual indication:
    Atlas™ or Aurora® magnetic level indicators can be supplied with switches or transmitters

More Information

For more information on level solutions for flash tanks and other power generation applications, download the power industry brochure. You can also download the steam generation applications brochure for more information on level solutions for the steam generation and condensate recovery process.

power generation

Posted in Power Industry | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Level Measurement Solutions for Condensate Drip Legs

Level control of condensate tanks is critical to optimize condensate and waste heat recovery, as well as protect hardware. Each component of the steam generation and condensate recovery cycle has its own unique challenges and considerations when it comes to selecting level instrumentation. This is especially true when it comes to applications that are intended to keep the rest of the equipment safe, such as 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.

condensate drip legs

Condensate drip legs along a steam line.

Magnetrol® has produced an applications brochure for the power and utilities industries, detailing measurement challenges and solutions for each step of the steam generation and condensate recovery process. This blog post is part of an occasional series exploring each application in detail.

Level Measurement Challenges and Considerations

If particles of moisture escape condensate collection systems and enter the turbines, significant damage can result. Proper level controls should prevent any moisture from entering the turbine, no matter how small the amount. Level controls used in condensate drip legs must also contend with the high temperatures and pressures associated with these devices. They must be able to provide accurate and reliable measurement despite these challenging conditions.

Level Measurement Solutions

MAGNETROL has produced level measurement solutions for condensate drip legs:

  • Model B40 float-actuated switch
  • Model B35 external cage float-actuated switch, ASME B31.1 construction

More Information

For more information on level solutions for condensate drip legs and other power generation applications, download our power generation brochure.

You can also download our steam generation white paper to learn more about solutions for the steam generation and condensate recovery cycle.

power generation

Posted in Steam Generation | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Level Solutions for Feedwater Heaters

Optimizing feedwater heater level control is an effective way to easily improve power plant efficiency and reduce fuel costs. 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. The primary benefit of this process is that the feedwater heater decreases the fuel costs by using recovered energy – rather than costly hot gas – to heat the water.

Feedwater heater level measurement in the field.

The key to efficient operation of a feedwater heater is to optimize the condensing zone in an effort to transfer as much of the available energy as possible to the boiler feedwater while maintaining sufficient cooling of the tubes to prevent premature damage of the hardware due to thermal overload – all of which are an inherent part of the feedwater heater design.

Level Measurement Challenges and Considerations

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. The effectiveness of a shell and tube heat exchanger in transferring energy is contingent, barring hardware anomalies, on accurate level control.

According to ASME standards, two separate level control loops should manage each feedwater heater. Level instrumentation must also be able to withstand moderate to high temperatures and pressures and turbulent conditions. Many level instruments are unable to adjust to turbulence or change in pressure and thus provide inaccurate readings in feedwater heater applications.

Level Measurement Solutions

Magnetrol® produces several instrumentation options to address the level measurement challenges of monitoring feedwater heaters:

  • For point level:
    Model B40 float-actuated or Series 3 external cage switches
  • For continuous level:
    Eclipse® Model 706 guided wave radar transmitter with 7YS steam probe or E3 Modulevel® displacer transmitter
  • For visual indication:
    Atlas™ or Aurora® magnetic level indicators can be supplied with switches or transmitters

More Information

For more information on level solutions for feedwater heaters and other power generation applications, download the power industry brochure. You can also download the steam generation applications brochure for more information on level solutions for the steam generation and condensate recovery process.

power generation

Posted in Feedwater Heater | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Eclipse® Model 706 Guided Wave Radar Transmitters Withstand Catastrophic Flooding

No plant manager wants to think about a natural disaster impacting his or her facility. But when disaster strikes, it’s important to have a measurement solution that will withstand damage and keep from making the disaster worse. Magnetrol® guided wave radar instrumentation withstood major flooding in Texas and helped a plant avoid further catastrophe. guided wave radar

In a four-day period between August 25 and 29, 2017, many areas of Texas received over 100 centimeters of rain that caused catastrophic flooding. This was brought on by Hurricane Harvey—an extremely destructive Category 4 storm, the strongest to make landfall in the United States since 2005.

The resulting floods inundated hundreds of thousands of homes and caused significant property damage and loss of life. They also prompted the closure of several refineries and chemical plants.

In some cases, the storm damage to the plants caused accidents that exacerbated the disastrous conditions. Two ExxonMobil refineries had to be shut down due to storm-related damage and releases of hazardous pollutants. Even worse, two explosions occurred at one of the Arkema chemical plants in Crosby, TX, due to the loss of power and, subsequently, the loss of proper cooling in one of its systems.

Another plant affected by Harvey has a direct tie to MAGNETROL. A chemical plant in southeast Texas relies on several Eclipse® Model 706 Guided Wave Radar (GWR) transmitters installed on sumps. In an email to MAGNETROL Global Product Manager Bob Botwinski, Chris Oglesby, a representative from Tech Quip in Houston, stated: “[The ECLIPSE 706 devices] held up to Harvey…even after being submerged for several days.”

The Model 706 is actually rated only to Ingress Protection IP 66/67, which is defined as “no harmful effects to occur from high-pressure water spray and/or short-term submersion.” However, these particular devices not only withstood full, long-term submersion over the course of several days, they started up immediately and began operating properly when called upon.

Although it is difficult to take much satisfaction in such a small piece of good news encompassed within such an immensely sad event, this story certainly highlights and substantiate the robust design and exceptionally high quality of MAGNETROL instrumentation.

For more information about the ECLIPSE Model 706 guided wave radar and other MAGNETROL radar-based transmitters, visit radar.magnetrol.com.

guided wave radar

Posted in Magnetrol News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Learn About Optimizing Steam Drum Level Control With Magnetrol® at POWER-GEN International

The large-scale integration of renewable technologies into the energy mix and climate change mitigation has fundamentally changed the day-to-day operation of combined cycle and conventional fossil fired boiler power plants. As a result, the vulnerabilities of traditional level technologies to the dynamic process conditions of a steam drum during fast starts or cycling events have a more profound effect on a plant’s ability to respond to market demands or to the shortfall of renewable assets. High-quality, reliable steam drum level control is increasingly important to address these issues.

Although the mainstay of steam drum level control for decades, traditional technologies are not well suited for the wide range of process conditions within a steam drum that may be experienced during load swings throughout the course of a day.

In one instance, the technology involves an excessive number of variables to resolve the level measurement equation that present avenues for potential error, while another oversimplifies the measurement such that operators have limited visibility to conditions within the steam drum – relative to today’s technology standards.

The Destination for Optimization

Magnetrol® will be hosting a pre-conference workshop for POWER-GEN International entitled “Optimizing Steam Drum Level Control for Improved Performance.” At this workshop, MAGNETROL business manager Donald Hite will detail the advancements in Guided Wave Radar (GWR) technology relative to steam drum level control and how these advancements remedy the host of issues plants experience from both operational and performance points of view. Hite is a recognized expert in the field. He has over 30 years of instrumentation and industry experience and is familiar with technologies both old and new and how they impact power plant efficiency.

steam drum level control

This workshop is a great fit for plant instrumentation & control engineers, performance & reliability engineers, design engineers, fleet engineers and instrumentation & control technicians.

Topics covered in the workshop will include:

  • Simplifying your steam drum level measurement equation
  • Leveraging today’s technology to improve steam drum level control and plant performance metrics:  availability, reliability, heat rate and dispatch response
  • Managing controllable losses through improved visibility to steam drum dynamics
  • Minimizing hardware complexity
  • Eliminating calibration as a factor in instrumentation performance
  • Hardware and controls implementation:  existing plant & new build
  • Implementation cost analysis
  • ASME BPVC Section 1

The workshop will take place on Monday, December 4 from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm in room N234 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV.

If you’re attending POWER-GEN International, don’t miss out on this pre-conference workshop and an opportunity to learn about better instrumentation for steam drum level control. Register today—we hope to see you there!

Posted in Magnetrol News | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Level Measurement Solutions for 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. Boiler blowdown tanks can also function as gravity feed drains for the steam generator when the generator is drained for maintenance.

Maintaining water quality in the boiler within design parameters ensures the highest quality steam possible. By reducing solids, scaling and corrosion caused by water impurities can be minimized and energy recovery can be better facilitated.

boiler blowdown tanks

A boiler blowdown tank in a power generation plant.

Level Measurement Challenges and Considerations

Good boiler blowdown practices can greatly reduce a boiler’s water treatment needs. 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.

In addition, optimizing blowdown usage through level control primarily affects fuel economy by better managing the amount of energy required to produce high quality steam for any given task. The performance of any level technology relative to instrument induced errors, calibration nuances, and vulnerabilities to process dynamics can have an immediate and adverse impact on fuel consumption. Seamless response to changes in demand and reducing maintenance associated with the instrumentation or damage to hardware are residual benefits that have their own financial ramifications; these aspects should also be considered when implementing any technology.

Level Measurement Solutions

Magnetrol® has developed level instrumentation for boiler blowdown tanks in response to these challenges:

  • Eclipse® Model 706 guided wave radar transmitter with 7YS steam probe
  • E3 Modulevel® displacer transmitter

More Information

For more information on solutions for boiler blowdown tanks and other power/steam generation applications, download the power generation brochure. You can also download the steam generation applications brochure for more information on level solutions for the steam generation and condensate recovery process.

power generation

Posted in Power Industry | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Case Studies: How Two Petrochemical Plants Improved Level and Flow Measurement

Managing petrochemical plants requires monitoring a variety of complex processes. Preventing accidents is a key concern, as well as ensuring that no product is lost and that the highest quality is maintained. The level and flow instrumentation used to monitor these processes often makes a significant impact on plant efficiency and safety.

Magnetrol® produces a wide range of level and flow instrumentation that can be used in petrochemical plants. This blog post shares the stories of two plants that improved their petrochemical production and better monitored their facilities by using MAGNETROL products.

Case Study #1: Not All Guided Wave Radar is Created Equal

One of the world’s largest oil & gas and petrochemical companies was having problems with multiphase applications involving hydrocarbon level with water bottoms and gas vapor space. Guided wave radar (GWR) technology was introduced to monitor these applications. However, the GWR devices selected did not produce a reliable signal throughout the measurement range, and the dynamics of the interface made it difficult to distinguish between the upper level and the water below. There was a threat of loss of primary containment (LOPC) due to these measurement errors.

MAGNETROL pioneered GWR technology for level measurement and its latest device, the Eclipse® Model 706, is considered the highest performing GWR level transmitter on the market. The ECLIPSE Model 706 was tested side-by-side with multiple GWR competitors for both top level and interface measurements and it was proven to be best-in-class. The ECLIPSE 706 tracked level up to the device’s flanged process connection, above 100% level, with no dead zones or blind spots at the top of the probe. It prevented LOPC by tracking the top hydrocarbon level through the vapor space and also measured the interface (water bottom) due to the superior signal strength. In summary, it was the only device tested that could produce reliable measurements with a completely dry probe, a probe having only one of the two process media present, and under varying interface conditions.

Case Study #2: Measuring Blanketing Gas to Reduce Cost 

An oil & gas and petrochemical company in China required nitrogen tank blanketing for their flammable liquid containment. Monitoring the nitrogen was essential to account for leakage and verify flow going into the vapor space of the tanks. Due to the number of tanks, the gas flow was monitored to find the right balance between the necessary nitrogen usage and potential cost savings.

petrochemical plants

A Thermatel® TA2 monitoring gas flow in a petrochemical plant.

MAGNETROL recommended its Thermatel® TA2 thermal mass flow meters to monitor the nitrogen for tank blanketing. The meters came fully calibrated and configured so the company could simply install them and power up. THERMATEL TA2 flow meters are very effective in extreme low gas pressures, such as in tank blanketing applications. In addition, total cost of ownership was reduced with calibration verification procedures that could be performed in the field. Since calibrations can cost tens of thousands of dollars and cause process downtime or loss of measurement, this saved money and increased efficiency for the company.

More Information

MAGNETROL offers numerous level and flow solutions for ethylene applications, including petrochemical production. To learn more about the products we offer and how they can help increase the efficiency and safety of petrochemical plants, download our ethylene brochure.

ethylene brochure

Posted in Ethylene Industry | Tagged , , | Leave a comment