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Sometimes cooler isn’t better

The Problem

In February 2014, DHD Cooling was contacted by Centrica’s South Humber Bank Power Plant in the North East of England. The plant was suffering sensitive equipment freezing during harsh weather as a result of being situated on an estuary. . This resulted in the immediate shutdown of the boilers and terminated production at the plant. The shutdowns were cost hundreds of thousands of pounds in lost generation each winter.

 

The Consultation

In conjunction with our partners Galebreaker Industrial, DHD Cooling undertook a site survey and consultation to identify the cause and extent of the freezing issue. It was found that the majority of the sensors that were freezing were outside of the area of the existing cladding, on the West face of the Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG). This meant that the sensors were also directly in the path of the strong winds coming in from the North Sea. The client had already attempted to protect each of the sensors, with localised covers, but the wind chill was so great that they were ineffective.

The Solution

DHD Cooling and Galebreaker Industrial put together a scope of works to situate bespoke tensioned fabric Wind Shields across strategic locations to nullify the effects of the wind on the sensitive equipment. Galebreaker’s PVC coated polyester windshields are designed to withstand wind speeds of up to 90mph, and the partially permeable mesh material slows the wind without causing the full wind loadings of conventional cladding.

The simple nature of the ratchet hook connections also meant that additional structural steelwork was kept to a minimum and therefore the installation process was more straightforward than if the client had decided to clad the structure.
Because the windshields were only placed where they were required, the solution offered a significant cost reduction over conventional cladding, and the cost of the system has more than paid for itself as since its installation. The plant has experienced no further shutdowns due to frozen equipment on their HRSG. Since implementation, we have since installed an identical system on the adjacent HRSG.

Key Points

  • Cost effective, bespoke weather protection system.
  • Easy and fast installation.
  • Minimal additional steelwork required.
  • ROI after first winter.

 

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