Loy Yang A’s Unit 2 generator is in extended shutdown after a failure took it offline in May. With repairs expected to be underway until December, chemists from the Loy Yang A chem lab are using a futuristic solution to combat corrosion.
As well as traditional methods of slowing down and stopping corrosion, the team has deployed a cutting-edge film-forming substance (FFS) on the working parts. The FFS creates a thin layer over the parts that strongly repels any water that comes into contact with the layer.
According to lab coordinator Matt Harris, the first 72 hours were the most critical.
‘With moisture in the air, everything is cold and wet and at risk of corrosion,’ Matt said.
Lab coordinator Matt Harris oversees the deployment of the protective film-forming substance at Loy Yang
‘Our key priority is protecting the turbine – the most at-risk piece of plant – and then our next priority is to protect the boiler and steam pipework.’
The film-forming substance is a relatively new tool in the fight against corrosion in Australia. It has previously been used at AGL’s Torrens Island power stations in South Australia, where the 52-year old Torrens A station is being progressively mothballed as the 210MW Barker Inlet Power Station comes online.
In addition to the state-of-the-art chemical protection, the Loy Yang A team is also deploying dehumidifiers.
‘There’s a formula which suggests corrosion is significantly reduced at less than 30% humidity,’ Matt said.
‘We measure the relative humidity daily to calculate the moisture in the air. To overcome the risk of corrosion, dehumidification is required. We’ve brought in dehumidifiers to push dry air through the pipework to keep surfaces dry.’
The protection work will continue until the Unit 2 generator is estimated to come back online mid December. During the shutdown, however, the team is banking valuable knowledge – and preparing to share that knowledge with other industry scientists at upcoming conferences.
‘We’re learning a lot through this shutdown and doing the groundwork for what would be standard practice to protect the assets during outages in the future,’ Matt said.
Embracing best tech to maintain and preserve
We understand the importance of Loy Yang A to Victoria’s electricity supply and that’s why we’re embracing the best technology to maintain and preserve Unit 2 during repairs. AGL expects it will take until December 2019 to return the Unit to service and ensure its ongoing reliability.