Corrosion inhibitor tech making an environmental and operational difference

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GE Power and Water recently helped a Russia-based client make big savings in water usage as well as reduce water consumption enough to save $120,000.
Peter Macios
Peter Macios, General Manager, Chemical and Monitoring Solutions Product Management—Water and Process technologies for GE Power & Water spoke to Power Engineering International about its AZ8101 corrosion inhibitor technology.

“I think there is a balance between operational savings and environmental savings and in this case the customer does not have to make a compromise – they can have both operational and environmental savings.”

Macios is referring to the technology helping a gas plant in the Russian Volga region save 1.3 million gallons of water annually as well as reduce water consumption enough to save $120,000.

The gas-fired power plant, TEC VAZ VoTGK, located in the Samara area of the Volga region of Russia, also decreased the rate of copper corrosion by 20 times and reduced the amount of copper being discharged into the Volga River by four times.

Water crises took the top spot in the World Economic Forum’s 10th global risk report, so the use of GE’s inhibitor technology is making a positive contribution to ensuring greater availability of the water resource to those most in need.

Given that power plants account for so much water usage the AZ8101 can be particularly beneficial in regions where shortages are numerous.

Proper chemical treatment is essential to prevent corrosion in critical and complex production units for hydrocarbon and chemicals processing.

“This particular inhibitor has been active for 6-7 years. It’s really differentiated in the market as we have designed these specifically for tough to treat waters. As customers are treating their water not just one or three times but 20-30 times this family of products doesn’t break down – it stays stable throughout these processes,” explains Macios. “Waters being recycled and becoming tougher to treat with more bleach or bio used to kill the bacteria – these family of products don’t break down despite the conditions – it minimises the overall costs to our customers – they are not having to constantly replenish and re-add chemistry because of these conditions. It allows our customers to recycle water.”

Recent experiences of product success include cases in Russia, Thailand and in the Gerau field in Canada, where GE were able to help a plant reduce discharges back into Lake Ontario.

GE’s customers are these days more focused on water re-use or recycle using municipal water. Old chemistries are often not as effective and are also often cost prohibitive and GE’s corrosion inhibitor came through in response to the loss off effectiveness of chemistries which tended to break down through oxidisation and fail to handle the level of solids or contaminants.

The sheer scale of Chinese expansion in power generation could see greater use of the offering.

“China is an exciting market for us. Until recently they were adding around 500 MW of capacity a week – so clearly there are opportunities for us in water scarce regions and that’s the way we are promoting our products in China today.”

“As regulations change and tig hten up I think more awareness is being created about the need for such technology. I saw today that Beijing has been awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics. A substantial part of the article I read outlined the Chinese commitment to improving the air quality and water quality – I thought I was reading an environmental article. There is more involvement in the global market and they are trying to improve their image.”

“It’s not just about the benefit to the water table but also having water available for communities or agricultural use. The more water that can be used and re-used within a plant it allows the remaining water to be maintained for communities.”

With regard to its latest high profile project case in Russia, Macios points out that it was not only an environmental good news story.

“The benefits are not only environmental but also operational savings. With this particular customer the loss of copper metallurgy would have had a huge economic penalty for them if they had to continuously replace heat exchangers, have poor performance because of pluggage of pipes and smaller fittings and lines and if their process water becomes contaminated that could have an impact on the final product. All of these elements could shut down a power plant if not treated and protected in the right way.”

“I think there is a balance between operational savings and environmental savings and in this case the customer does not have to make a compromise – they can have both operational and environmental savings.”

“Typically these types of chemistries pay themselves off in weeks to months. The replacement of a heat exchanger for example can be from $200,000 - $400,000 depending on the complexity.”


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