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Leak detection on hydrogen cooled turbogenerators

12 March 2015

FLIR Systems reports on how its FLIR GF343 Optical Gas Imaging camera is being used for monitoring leak detection on hydrogen cooled turbogenerators. This equipment, used in power stations for electricity production, is very carefully monitored for its hydrogen concentration for safe and efficient operation. 

There is a constant effort to monitor and maintain any leaks, not only for operational efficiency but also from a safety perspective, as concentrations of Hydrogen (4 -75%) in air can be explosive.

Today the Power Generation industry performs leak detection and repair (LDAR) of the generators during a shutdown period. This shutdown could be over a 2 to 3 week period with 3 to 4 days dedicated to leak detection and repair. However, by adding a small concentration of CO2  (< 5%) as a tracer gas to the Hydrogen, the generator will still operate at a safe and efficient level and the operator and maintenance teams can now monitor for leaks during full operation using a FLIR GF343 CO2 Optical Gas Imaging (OGI) camera.

In recent tests the FLIR GF343 was shown to accurately visualise a small amount (~2.5%) of CO2 tracer gas in the system when there is a leak, therefore helping maintenance crews find and pinpoint leaks. Beneficially leak detection on Hydrogen cooled turbogenerators can now be performed under full operation, therefore saving time and money by significantly reducing shutdown time.

The FLIR GF343 is an optical gas imaging camera that lets you detect and visualize Carbon Dioxide (CO2) leaks quickly, easily, and from a safe distance. Reliable, non-contact CO2 detection using the FLIR Systems GF343 lets power plants prevent unplanned outages by allowing them to inspect equipment while it is still online in the course of normal operations. It also helps keep operations safe while moving towards carbon-neutral capture and storage operations.

Optical imaging using FLIR GF-Series thermal cameras offers a number of benefits compared to traditional “sniffers” because they scan a broader area much more rapidly and in areas that are difficult to reach with contact measurement tools. Infrared displays a leak as a plume of vapor in the infrared image. Once a leak is found from a safe distance, you can use your TVA to quantify the concentration.

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