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Aggressive corrosion is being investigated across the nation as more and more power plants are discovering that both older and relatively new steel and reinforced concrete infrastructure is corroding at alarming rates. American Electric Power installed a pollution scrubber at its Cardinal plant in Ohio back in 2007. This was meant to last 25 years. However, approximately one year after installation, an inspection found that corrosion was eating through the tank vessel walls and in many areas it had corroded all the way through. The Electric Power Research Institute, funded by utility companies, has found similar situations across the country. The problem with aggressive corrosion is that it threatens plant shutdowns and costly repairs. These costs may be reflected on your and my power bills.
 
 

Power plant corrosion repair options vary in size, cost and complexity. Coatings are helpful for preventing water and chemicals from corroding steel and reinforced concrete. For structural strengthening requirements beyond corrosion prevention, many are looking for a fast but long-term solution in order to avoid costly replacement of infrastructure. This applies to every type of power plant. Geothermal power generating plants for instance, utilize heat from the Earth’s core to heat water or other working fluid. Geothermal brine is very corrosive and can cause a lot of damage in not a lot of time.
aggressive corrosion at power plants
Aggressive corrosion is plaguing power plants across the nation. Photo courtesy of The Columbus Dispatch

 

At this geothermal plant on the west coast, a primary and secondary clarifier were used to clarify geothermal brine, separating it from particulate material. The primary clarifier had corrosion on its sidewalls and upper tank ring and dome. The 125′ diameter, 43′ high clarifier had approximately 80{f00316eaeff19fc4d3daa6454136ee4db9a0ad1868aa2a79e58a2db09827821d} steel loss due to corrosion. The corrosion had weakened the structural integrity of the tank, which required reinforcement and protection against future corrosion. The exterior temperatures of the sidewalls was approximately 140F. Four areas were scheduled for repair: a wall patch, the tank sidewall and dome roof connection, dome roof and a 36″ diameter overflow pipe. The steel was abraded with an abrasive blast and primed. A high modulus paste was applied, and the CarbonSeal carbon fiber saturated and installed. A chemical-resistant top coat was applied, protecting the system.
corroded power plant clarifier
This geothermal power plant had aggressive corrosion on its primary clarifier, and required structural strengthening

 

HJ3’s CarbonSeal repair provided the 20-psi required hoop strengthening to the steel vessel. The repair was completed during the designated shut down period. The client was able to save significantly compared with replacement of the clarifier unit.
geothermal power plant primary clarifier repair
HJ3’s CarbonSeal carbon fiber repair system returned the hoop strength and saved the client significantly compared with tank replacement

 

Aggressive corrosion is occurring nation-wide, costing power plants ant their customers. The cost to replace corroded infrastructure can be millions for each company. But there are long-term alternative solutions, such as the CarbonSeal carbon fiber repair systems and aggressive chemical-resistant coatings. If you have a steel or reinforced concrete structure requiring reinforcement and would like to learn more about HJ3’s CarbonSeal industrial repair systems, contact our project managers at hj3pm@hj3.com.