Identifying Natural Gas Savings

Eight tell-tale signs your power generation profits are disappearing

Did you know your power generation profits are disappearing right under your nose? They’re not all that hard to find if you know where to look. Take a tour through your power plant and see if you can spot eight telltale signs that power generation costs are killing your profits.

  • Dirty gas turbine inlet filters or pre-filters. Dirt that accumulates on gas turbine inlet filters can significantly raise your heat rate and lower your energy efficiency. Measuring the pressure drop across a filter is a key energy efficiency indicator. Filters should be changed when they experience a pressure loss of between ½” w.c. to 1” w.c. Annual savings of approximately 215,000 m3/yr can be achieved by changing the filters on a 70MW rated turbine with a typical heat rate of 10,000 BTUs/kWh.

  • Dirty gas turbine compressor. When you open up your gas turbine for online or offline maintenance, power washing your gas turbine compressor is worth considering. A cleaner compressor should contribute to an improved heat rate.

  • Dirty heat recovery steam generator. Power washing of your Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG) - more specifically cleaning the economizer end of the unit as part of other maintenance – can improve feed water temperature.

  • Detecting leaks in your condenser vacuum. When conducting your planned maintenance take the time to check your condenser vacuum for leaks.  Condenser vacuum leaks lower heat rate and equipment efficiency.  In addition to  reducing performance, they can also allow water ingress that sometimes causes corrosion.

  • A gas turbine scheduled for its regular overhaul. Standard maintenance overhauls, usually scheduled every 25,000 or 50,000 hours, will improve a gas turbine’s heat rate. Union Gas has financial incentives for reducing the amount of natural gas you burn.

  • Steam plumes are sure signs you are losing money. High pressure steam plumes are signs you are losing a lot of money. The height of your steam plume and your steam pressure signals the amount of money you are losing every year.  For instance, losses from a 3 ft. steam plume at 415 psig could be about $3,066 a year.

    • Check the Imperial Oil Enercase to learn how a major refinery adopted a systematic steam trap repair and replacement program that dramatically improves performance while saving $3 million a year in energy costs.

    • To learn how much a steam leak could be costing you, check our information on Steam Performance and compare your steam performance to other plants in your business unit.

    • What are some other signs that your steam system needs help? Are you recovering heat from your condensate heat recovery? Are you extracting all the heat you can from your blowdown? If not, you’re missing profit saving opportunities.

  • Damaged, wet or missing insulation could be costing you dollars so repair or replace it. If you have uninsulated surfaces, check them for heat. As a general rule of thumb, if it’s hotter than 120o F (49o C), you need to insulate it. You should also check for building envelope leaks. Are your loading dock doors damaged? Are there bare walls in a heated storage area? These too could be raising your energy costs.

  • Thermal imaging – a picture can be worth dollars. A thermal imaging camera can show you where you are losing heat in your plant. Colour disparities on your infrared camera are a tell-tale sign of heat and money losses. An infrared survey of your plant will show you how to pinpoint your heat losses. Union Gas financial incentives can help pay for an infrared survey. For more information about how a thermal imaging survey paid big dividends for a Union Gas customer, check the AbitibiBowater Enercase. This case study shows how a paper manufacturer used thermal imaging to save hundreds of thousands of dollars with very short paybacks.

Union Gas will pay you to save natural gas. If you are seeing some of these telltale signs in your power plant, contact your Union Gas Energy Conservation Advisor. Our staff can conduct a plant walk through and help you identify where you can lower your energy consumption.

Union Gas financial incentives are available to help Union Gas business customers reduce the amount of natural gas they use. In fact, Union Gas will help pay for some equipment and studies if it will lower your gas consumption.* If you are looking for savings in your plant, contact a Union Gas Energy Conservation Advisor for more information.

More ideas for saving natural gas. Looking for more ways to save? The system brochures below identify potential energy efficiency improvements for your plants and facilities – along with incentives available from Union Gas.

*  NOTE: Total incentives cannot exceed $250,000 a year per site. Certain criteria apply for some technologies, contact your Energy Conservation Advisor in your area. Subject to change.