Heat Recovery Steam Generator Signature Data Analysis

Signature Data Analysis can help Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG) owners and operators detect operating conditions so you can take appropriate action to improve operating practices, prevent costly failures, improve reliability and optimize the HRSG’s lifetime.

HRSGs often operate in cycling mode and also for periods of high load. This results in fatigue and creep damage accumulating in key components. Intertek’s Asset Integrity Management (AIM) team has developed a Total Quality Assurance methodology called Signature Data Analysis that identifies poor operating practices and control system shortcomings which reduce HRSG life expectancy. Signature Data Analysis examines existing historical data from the plant data historian – no additional instrumentation is necessary.

Combined cycle units designed for base load operations often run in cycling mode with faster ramp rates, with very low load operation and on/off cycling.  This cycling increases the wear and tear in HRSG units resulting in critical risks to process safety, increased costs, higher probability of equipment failure and reduction in unit life.  To manage the potential impacts of cycling damage, owners and operators need to understand operations  at each of the critical areas within the HRSG system.  A cost effective management approach uses the existing equipment signature data to  deal with the current and future impacts of cycling.  

Signature Data Tasks

HRSG units, when cycled often, experience thermal transients and poor water chemistry that shorten HRSG life. These conditions can be identified and then managed by analyzing signature data from a plant information system (PI).

Intertek offers a one man-week assessment using instrumentation already installed to identify:

  • Extreme thermal stresses in thick-walled pressure parts such as superheater, reheater and economizer / feedwater heater sections
  • Damaging steam drum gradients which lead to low cycle cracking
  • Condensate in super heater tubes from poor drain systems 
  • Leaking or poorly designed attemperator/desuperheater sprays
  • Bad water chemistry that can lead to flow accelerated corrosion (FAC) and stress corrosion

All-encompassing HRSG inspections are costly, time consuming and only show damage after it is at or near a failure point.  Intertek offers cost-effective assessments that do not require large investments of your time by using online data from instrumentation already installed.

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