Emissions control systems fall victim to corrosion

Duke Energy is joining the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and 16 other utilities to find out what is causing corrosion in emissions control technology such as scrubbers, according to the Charlotte Observer. Duke reportedly has spent $5 million to fix the problem in many of the utility’s scrubbers over the past two years.

EPRI was quoted as saying about 25 of the 160 wet scrubbers in North America have documented cases of corrosion.  The corrosion pits the metal-alloy inner walls of the scrubbers and has affected new and old units. The alloy linings were expected to need less maintenance in scrubbers scheduled to operate for 25 years but some have reportedly corroded through in as little as 11 months.

Some utilities reportedly are installing linings and coatings to protect the alloys while others may place a thin layer of corrosion-resistant metal over the alloys. Progress Energy, another participant in the study, said it lined its scrubbers with tile that protects the alloys from high temperatures, pressures and solvents.

Scrubbers use a limestone slurry on flue gases released from coal-fired power plants. The slurry absorbs sulfur dioxide and mercury from the flue gases and keeps it out of the air.

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