NEWS RELEASE                                                                                                    FEBRUARY 2015

Air and Water Monitoring Revenues for Gas Turbine Combined Cycle Power Plants Will Exceed $1.9 Billion This Year

The fall in oil prices, environmental concerns about coal-fired generation, safety issues with nuclear power plants and high cost of wind and solar are serving to boost the market for gas turbine combined cycle power plants. In addition to power generation, these systems are increasingly used by industrial facilities to provide process steam and power.

The projected revenues for monitoring and sensing the air, gas, water and other liquids for these power plants is $1.9 billion in 2015, according to the latest forecast in Air and Water Monitoring: World Market published by the McIlvaine Company.

These revenues include control and plant information systems as well as the sensors for measuring the quantities, physical parameters and quality aspects of the gas and liquid fuels as well as the intake air, treatment chemicals and the complete steam cycle. It also includes the water intakes, cooling, steam and wastewater.

The market is amplified by the retrofitting of the steam cycle to a number of simple cycle plants.  The additional efficiency is needed not only for the power boost but also to meet greenhouse gas targets. A peaking plant is not any more efficient that a modern coal-fired generator.

There are many variations in control and monitoring needs depending on process options.  Air cooling to condense the steam is being selected over wet cooling towers in arid areas of China and the U.S.  Zero liquid discharge systems are increasingly popular. They include evaporation loops with considerable monitoring and control.  Innovations such as variable speed pumps on the water intakes can reduce harm to aquatic life, but do require investments in controls. The many different processes are detailed below.

Liquids: Water quality measurements include flow, quantity and other physical parameters as well as quality measures such as contamination of particulates and chemicals.  There is the intake water from the source, pretreatment, ultrapure water processes, steam, condensation, wastewater, cooling, cooling bleed stream and other miscellaneous processes. Water is not the only liquid being measured. Various treatment chemicals must be monitored and controlled.

Most systems have a liquid fuel source to be utilized if there is an interruption in gas supply.  So there are measurements needed for this loop.  Some recent innovations have increased the monitoring and control investment. To prevent plugging of fuel nozzles in periodic testing of the liquid system, there is a loop which simulates injection but does not actually do so. This is adequate for testing purposes and eliminates the nozzle buildup. However, it adds investment in monitoring and control.

The measurement and control of the ammonia used to react with NOx is also extensive.  The design is even more complex if urea is converted to anhydrous ammonia at the plant site. Many gas turbine owners choose the higher cost urea approach due to transportation safety issues.

Air:  Large amounts of air are needed to provide the mass for driving the gas turbine.  This air is filtered and conditioned in a number of steps requiring monitoring and control. The flue gas exiting the turbine moves through a heat recovery steam generator and then to a catalytic air pollution control system.  There is a need to measure NOx, CO and other constituents including the ammonia which may slip through the catalyst system.

Gas:  Monitoring and control of the gas flow and the rotating machinery used in the system requires substantial investment in monitoring and control.  In addition, there are other rotating devices such as the steam turbine and pumps which must be controlled.  Many plants have duct burners prior to the heat recovery steam generator. Some peaking plants are also introducing ambient air to control the temperature prior to the catalytic reactor. Fan control and flow monitoring is required for this process.

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