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European countries lead the wave of Biomass energy. While some operators build new biomass-fired boilers, others retrofit old coal-fired units to burn biomass. Although this is a more environmentally friendly fuel, related Alkali- and Sulfide-induced corrosion of boiler tubes has become a problem.  Integrated Global Services (IGS) Inc. developed and field-tested a new metal alloy to cope with both corrosion and erosion in these aggressive environments. Recent, flawless results have shown that the high velocity thermal spray (HVTS) cladding in a large E.ON Biomass boiler in Sweden has delivered the desired benefit of lower operational expenses.

Integrated Global Services (IGS) is an international company with a 35+year history in providing on-site corrosion protection for power boilers, oil and gas pressurized vessels, and heat recovery boilers.  IGS surface protection solutions have been applied to 2,500 industrial boilers worldwide. Over 500 of these are Circulating Fluidised Bed (CFB) and Bubbling Fluidised Bed (BFB) boilers. The IGS engineering team have the benefit of a well-staffed and superbly equipped Technology Center. This large laboratory has advanced analytical tools and specific performance prediction capabilities that are used to develop and evaluate proprietary metal alloys and ceramic claddings, to provide reliable corrosion and erosion solutions for mission-critical equipment.

Biomass Corrosion Resistant Cladding

A recently developed material, IGS 5470, is a high velocity thermal spray (HVTS) applied metal alloy cladding shown to provide unprecedented corrosion resistance at the high temperatures found in Biomass boilers. This cladding is also designed to provide ease of on-site application. IGS CTO, Iain Hall, comments: “Merely specifying a corrosion resistant alloy does not ensure that the applied cladding system, with that alloy, will perform well in service. Very specific modifications are necessary to the material composition, process equipment and the application procedures, with additional post-treatment, to ensure that the as-sprayed cladding is resilient and capable of delivering an effective long-term corrosive and wear resistant barrier. Not all cladding systems are equal.”

IGS Global Presence

Having operational centers in strategic locations in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa, IGS provides its services worldwide. That said, each market is unique. Sören Stutin, General Manager at IGS Scandinavia, comments: “Scandinavia is a highly educated market in both CFB and renewable fuel thermal power and steam generation. Our boiler engineers have a deep understanding of metal wastage problems in boilers and years of experience in using thermal spray solutions. An important attribute is that even with this experience, Scandinavian engineers are open to innovation and once vetted, readily absorb the best available technology to improve operations. This combination of well-educated, curious, and savvy engineers is what makes our boiler industry so advanced.”

Large-Scale Application

The IGS Europe s.r.o. Operations team performed a high velocity thermal spray (HVTS) application at Eon Värme Sverige AB Åbyverket, Örebro Sweden steam boiler 5 during the August to September 2017 maintenance period. ÅP5 is a 170 MW biomass-fired CFB boiler built in 1988 by Götaverken-Generator (currently Valmet Technologies Inc.) The steam conditions are 150 bar/540° C.

Åbyverket wanted to upgrade the existing surface protection system that was previously installed in preparation for a future change in fuel composition during the boiler revamp in 2017.  In addition a height of 24 m of boiler tubing was changed on all 4 walls.

Alloy Cladding Protects Boilers From Biomass Corrosion

Biomass fuel is often multi-sourced. It may originate from virgin wood, plants or animal residue and may also contain recycled material like demolition wood. This uncertainty in the feed composition results in variations in the combustion process chemistry and gives rise to significant changes to the corrosion dynamics on water wall tube surfaces. In the case of fluidized bed boilers, this fuel mix together with changes in the bed material, adds an erosion/corrosion component to tube damage mechanisms.

Best Available Technology

While more aggressive fuels certainly increase tube material loss rates, this is not an entirely new problem. A number of other technologies have been employed to combat these problems. A subject matter expert for IGS in Waste to Energy and Biomass boilers, Cyril Narjoz says, “Some boiler operators believe that weld overlay is the only solution to protect boiler walls from biomass-induced corrosion safely. This was true some years ago, but now that IGS 5470 has proven its performance in several independent tests and practical applications. Being a faster, lower cost and more easily applied on-site technology, the IGS HVTS cladding with IGS 5470 is a great alternative for corrosion protection.”

IGS High Alloy Coating for Biomass Boiler  Corrosion PreventionIGS applied IGS 5470 to 993.5 m2 to the ÅP5 unit for erosion and corrosion protection in a 3-week period working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with eight spray units and technician rotation. The director of Operations for IGS Europe, Petr Sovadina, a boiler engineer with many years of thermal spray experience, commented, “We have an experienced and well-trained team, but it was our first large project in Scandinavia. The E.ON engineers were attentive and supportive, their close communication and collaboration with IGS mitigated many obstacles in the execution phase. As we understand that operators need to squeeze the critical path for boiler operations, IGS’s ability to mobilize 8 application teams enabled us to complete the application to the 993.5 m2 of water walls in 21 days. We are proud of our quality and glad to provide a warranty behind our work.”

Flawless Corrosion Protection

The first annual inspection of the IGS HVTS application was conducted in August 2018. The result was as expected; there was no degradation or thickness loss of the applied thermal spray cladding. The ceramic top coat system, IGS 6022, indicated the areas with the heaviest erosion. A cladding thickness mapping inspection was performed, as usual, and a full report provided to the customer,. The E.ON site manager Ingrid Bogren commented, “Our work is extremely important, that is why we choose the best services for our boilers. We closely monitor projects performed in our boilers, IGS has an experienced and quality-oriented team that listens to customer needs and delivers according to their promises.”

As the European energy market develops and uses more widely varying biomass fuels, facilities will face more difficult corrosion conditions than they have experienced before. IGS is well equipped to provide effective long-term surface protection barriers on existing tube water walls, stopping tube leaks and effectively eliminating the requirement for panel replacement by preserving the existing water wall tube condition.

Now in Turkey: Integrated Global Services (IGS) is a global industry leader in the development and on-site application of emissivity coatings, and metal spray cladding mitigating corrosion and erosion problems in challenging operating environments. IGS specializes in serving a global customer base with on-site technical solutions. The company’s Technology Research Center in Richmond, Virginia partners with some of the largest energy companies in the world to understand and solve difficult metal wastage problems, improve operating efficiencies, improve coating and welding techniques, and evaluates material performance.   See more at https://integratedglobal.com

IGS’s objective for this project was to identify a strong local partner to market the company’s products to the large potential market of industrial facilities and energy providers in Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Assistance Provided

In September 2017, CS Richmond consulted with CS Ankara Senior Commercial Specialist Serdar Cetinkaya regarding IGS and was advised that the market did hold some promise for these product offerings.  At that point, CS Richmond and CS Ankara held a market assessment call with IGS management in October 2017 to discuss the client’s prospects for garnering interest in the Turkish market.

Following the market assessment, IGS engaged with CS Ankara to conduct an International Partner Search, which resulted in several Turkish firms expressing strong interest in representing IGS in the market.  Following the delivery of the final report, IGS staff visited Turkey in June 2018 and met with the final shortlisted Turkish firms.  CS Ankara was able to provide value-added support in the final stretch of these considerations by sharing additional insights and knowledge of the firms’ experience and viability. IGS partnered with ENPRO to be their selected representative in the region. ENPRO (http://www.enpro.com.tr/) has been serving the power plant engineering and construction industry since 2003.

Description of Results

Due to the assistance provided by CS Anakara, the representation from ENPRO, and the deep knowledge and relationships in the energy sector held by Serdar Cetinkaya, IGS was afforded the opportunity to present their company to a range of qualified potential partners in Turkey and to receive market insights and guidance throughout the process.  This new foothold in Turkey builds upon previous CS support provided to IGS in the Czech Republic, which is the location of the IGS regional office that will also manage this new business in Turkey.

Impact – IGS serves many valued customers worldwide, including Europe and Middle East, providing metal coatings that increase service life of upstream and downstream vessels, coal boilers, as well as emissivity modifying coatings to improve efficiency of fired heaters. IGS evaluates market demandas 3-4 projects per year, totaling ~$1 mln with ROI for the customers frequently being less than a year. Turkey and Azerbaijan lacked this kind of service which provides multi-million dollars operating savings for refineries and power plants.

case-studies

Popcorn Ash “Plugging” Catalyst Replacement Models

Coal-fired power generating stations are increasingly aware of popcorn ash “plugging” their SCR catalysts, and thus, their catalyst lifecycle replacement models as well. Although experts from SCR catalyst manufacturers rarely predict significant plugging of the catalyst face from LPA or popcorn ash in the design stage of a SCR retrofit project, all too often a mid season inspection reveals an unexpected popcorn ash problem and the need to replace catalyst prematurely. Utility project planners report that the catalyst plugging also “plugs” their economic models designed to predict catalyst life cycles and associated replacement costs. “We never built a catalyst plugging scenario potential into our lifecycle model,” reports a utility vice president. “We were forced to replace a tier of catalyst in half its life expectancy at a 33% cost overrun.” Several coal-fired power generators have attempted to address this problem by installing various derivations of woven wire mesh screens upstream of the AIG system to filter out the LPA. At first, they generally report that their SCR catalyst is operating more effectively; however, over time, the high temperature and erosive properties of the LPA tend to erode the screen mesh, often in less than one ozone season. In order to address this problem, Integrated Global Services designed a patent-pending high temperature erosion resistant material that could greatly extend the life of the filtration system. Moreover, given the limitations of woven wire mesh, IGS introduced an advanced perforated plate material and supportive housing elements that, combined, significantly outlast any other available LPA filtration system in the marketplace today. The resultant system, NoNOx Components™, has emerged as the most trusted, premium quality LPA system in the world. With over 50 successful SCR installations in the U.S. and Europe, IGS offers full scale design, modeling, manufacturing, and installation capabilities, and guarantees system longevity and performance with a long term warranty program. As such, SCR system designers and owners can be reassured of their catalyst lifecycle assumptions. NoNOx Components™ represents yet another example of how IGS has increased the reliability of mission critical equipment.

Automated Pulse-Mig Overlay Protects Boiler Nose Arch

IGS recently performed automated weld overlay on the nose arch of a large power utility’s Units 1 & 2, 640mw Foster Wheeler boilers. Unit 1 was accomplished in the fall. The quality of the work was at a level that we were the preferred vendor for the work on Unit 2 in the spring. The plant identified wastage from soot blower erosion in a 550 sf area within each unit. Tube thickness was between .140 and .200. The material of choice was ER70S-6 carbon steel. With previous vendors, the plant had experienced tube panel warping; thus it was critical for IGS to minimize heat transfer to the tubes. No water was in the tubes at the time of application. Working conditions were difficult at best, with the arch at a 45 degree angle and continuously falling fly ash from overhanging pendants. IGS successfully completed the project with no safety incidents, 90-100 mils of overlay with a single pass, zero blow-throughs, and no leaks upon start-up. For more information on IGS’ services to the Fossil Power market, click here.

Combined On-Site Metalspray and Overlay Protects PC-Fired Boiler

Recently, IGS provided surface protection for a large utility with a 265 MW CE coal-fired boiler with Low Nox Burners and SOFA. The varying wastage rates in the different areas of the boiler, mix of erosion and corrosion issues, and previous poor performance of the existing thermalspray coating lent itself well to an IGS turnkey surface protection project. As a result, we executed automated pulse-mig welding on the boiler floor and provided Metalspray™ on the furnace walls. Previous 888 thermal spray coating applied in the past was spalling on the floor sections. IGS stripped the old coating and applied 800 sf of Inconel 622 weld overlay. Additionally, we provided a Metalspray™ coating to protect the furnace walls from reduced atmosphere corrosion. IGS successfully performed all necessary applications without any safety incidents and reduced the number of contractors with a multidisciplinary approach. For more information on IGS’ services to the Fossil Power market, click here

IGS Mechanical Group Replaces Air Preheater Baskets, Seals, and SCR Catalyst Modules

Recently, IGS’s non-union Mechanical group performed a change-out of the boiler air preheater baskets and the top layer of SCR catalyst at a coal-fired power plant. The company rotated the air preheater, replaced 96 hot end baskets, 144 cold end baskets, and radial seals in a Ljungstrom 26.5 – V152 air preheater. Two 10 man crews were utilized for this project, working two shifts per day, and at the 64 foot elevation. Concurrently, IGS replaced the top 36 module layer of Babcock Hitachi SCR catalyst. The modules weighed 2,700 lbs with dimensions of 6’2” x 3’1” x 4’7”. All work was performed at the 94 foot elevation by two 8 man crews working two shifts per day. IGS employed a dedicated safety manager for each shift. The plant’s engineering manager commented: “All of the work was done in a safe and environmentally sound manner. The SCR catalyst work was accomplished in record time, requiring only six days of around-the-clock effort (versus previous timeframes of at least ten days). We highly recommend IGS for this type of hoisting and rigging work, and we hope to have them return in the near future.”