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Helping India Power Ahead

India is building power plants at an incredible rate to keep pace with

extreme demand for electricity. As the largest industrial user of water,
such facilities need to implement modern technologies to keep water
loss to a minimum. Govindan Alagappan, homas !ayer and Paresh
"ora discuss water treatment technologies being used in the Indian
power market.
India has the second largest population in the world. It is expected to surpass
China this decade but it remains only the sixth largest energy consumer,
accounting for 3.4% of global energy consumption. India requires electric
power to close the demand supply gap caused by the growth rate of the
economy. This means it is among the top countries building power plants
The single largest industrial user of water in India is power plants, and these
plants consume roughly !% of the water used by all the industries put
together. "#ailability of water for power plant use is one of the $ey factors
considered when choosing a location and securing commercial appro#al of
new power plants. %ecause sustainability has become such an important
topic, the Central &ollution Control %oard 'C&C%( in India is turning its focus
towards efficient and effecti#e use of water in power plants.
#ater treatment technology in power plants
"mong the critical areas for water treatment and use in power plants are
inta$e screening, the steam turbines cycle 'boiler feed ) condensate
treatment( and the cooling water system. Inta$e screens wor$ as a barrier at
the inta$e structure to the seawater being used by the power plant, and also
protect the inta$e structure, pumps and pipes from unwanted material. *ailure
of these screens may lead to reduced cooling water flows and damage to
equipment. *eedwater is added to the steam boiler to replace e#aporation
and blowdown.
The Fullsep technology from Siemens aims to separate resins, with
minimum cross-contamination levels of the anion and cation resin. The aim is
to ensure consistent water quality.
In many cases, condensed steam returned to the boiler through the
condensate system pro#ides much of the feedwater. %efore use, this
condensate must be purified or +polished+ to remo#e impurities that could
damage the boilers, steam generators, reactors and turbines. %oth dissol#ed
'such as silica oxides( and suspended matter 'such as iron oxide particulate(,
as well as other contaminants that can cause corrosion and maintenance
issues, are effecti#ely remo#ed by condensate polishing equipment.
Cooling towers cool the recirculating water in a system through the
e#aporation of the water. ,#aporation concentrates the dissol#ed and
suspended solids in the cooling water, leading to the potential for scaling and
solids buildup in the cooling tower and cooling circuit. To a#oid these
problems, the ma$e-up water to the cooling tower must be treated and a small
amount continuously purged to pre#ent scaling and solids build-up in the
cooling tower. Cooling tower ma$e-up water is treated to remo#e hardness,
silica, suspended solids, and in some cases, organics.
Intake $creening echnologies
.ater screens for power plants need to sur#i#e the extremely corrosi#e
en#ironment and it is important for power producers to consider the screen/s
design. Tra#eling water screens ta$e many forms, from simple to more
sophisticated automated screens that ha#e self cleaning features. 0ome are
designed as coarse screens for remo#ing large floating debris li$e stic$s,
trash and plastic1 fine screens are able to remo#e finer suspended materials.
0ome are configured to safely pre#ent fish from entering water inta$e
!oiler %eedwater reatment echnologies
&ower plants use deioni2ed water as ma$e-up to high pressure boilers, for
producing steam to dri#e turbines and generate electricity. The quality of the
boiler feedwater depends on the boiler type and pressure. "ny hardness
contaminants can precipitate directly on the boiler and form scale, which
affects the performance. The con#entional means of purifying boiler feed
water has been to use clarification and filtration processes to treat the raw
water for remo#al of physical impurities, and chemically regenerated ion-
exchange deioni2ation for the remo#al of dissol#ed ions.
3#er the past decade, the global power industry has witnessed a technology
shift in the entire boiler feed water treatment. 4ltrafiltration '4*( membranes
are used as a physical and #erifiable barrier to remo#e suspended solids,
which protects and extends the life of the downstream equipment and also
accounts for the seasonal changes and #ariations in source water. 0econdly,
re#erse osmosis '53( is used as a roughing deminerali2er to remo#e the bul$
of the mineral, organic and particulate contaminants and reduce the chemical
consumption of the polishing ion exchangers. Impro#ements in
electrodeioni2ation technology ha#e caused a mo#ement towards chemical-
free deioni2ation systems.
&ondensate Polishing echnology
Condensate polishing treatment is a $ey technology required for the recycling
of the condensed water within the steam turbine loop.
"fter dri#ing the turbines, the steam flows to condensers. The condensed
water pic$s up some corrossi#e products during the passage through feed
water pumps, piping, steam turbine loop 'including boiler( and the condenser.
These impurities can affect the boiler and also impact the life of the turbine.
Condensate polishers sa#e power utilities money through a reduction in
facility start-up times, thereby sa#ing fuel and direct labor and minimising
This polishing can be accomplished with a mixed bed ion exchange system
that uses both cation and anion bead resins. Certain deep-bed condensate
polishers use strong-acid and strong-base resins to produce a #ery high
quality deminerali2ed water. They are typically used in applications where the
feedwater contains low le#els of Total 6issol#ed 0olids 'T60( and where the
power plant may ha#e minor condenser lea$s.
0uch systems in#ol#e se#eral #essels operating in parallel. .hen the mixed-
bed resin capacity is depleted, the +spent+ resin is transferred to an external
system for separation, bac$washing and regeneration.
The external regeneration process a#oids cross contamination of resins with
the regenerant chemicals, and therefore pre#ents them from accidentally
entering into the boiler. The $ey to the success of the condensate polishing
unit 'C&4( is the separation of the cation and anion resins before
.hen a leading 7orean contractor wanted deminerali2ation equipment and a
condensate polishing system for a pro8ect in 0audi "rabia, 0iemens supplied
three mixed-bed deminerali2er systems and four high-pressure spherical
condensate polishers with the *ullsep external regeneration system. The
mixed-bed systems will be used to polish desalinated water from the 5ed 0ea
to boiler feedwater quality. The condensate polishers will remo#e impurities
such as metal oxides, trace ionic contaminants and silica from the condensate
cycle to maximi2e water use, bring the power unit online faster, reduce
operating and maintenance costs for generation assets, and impro#e and
maintain boiler chemistry.
The micro and macro fouling in the cooling water circuit affects the heat
transfer efficiency in the power plant condenser tubes, which in turn affect the
o#erall power plant efficiency. This fouling is a#oided using chlorination of the
cooling water, which can be accomplished by using electrochlorination
9o#ing forward, with India as one of the top countries building power plants, it
will need dependable and sustainable water treatment technologies with low
lifecycle costs now, and in the future.
Author's note( &aresh :ora is based at 0iemens .ater Technologies in
India, ;o#indan "lagappan is regional sales manager for process water
solutions at 0iemens .ater Technologies and Thomas %ayer is sales director
for Chloropac 0ystems at 0iemens .ater Technologies, based in <ew
=ersey, 4.0.". They can be contacted at>
go#indan.alagappan?, paresh.#ora? and