The purpose of running a gas turbine is to harness work. Some of this goes back into compressing the fluid and continuing the process but everything else is your product. This may generate electricity or drive other machinery, but the net profit relies on gas turbine efficiency.
A fouled turbine affects output and throughput so it is essential to remedy any fouling to maintain a productive, profitable turbine.
What is fouling?
Fouling consists of deposited airborne particles ingested from the environment. These can include salts, minerals or hydrocarbons, but also aggressive gases such as Sox, Nox or Cl2. Once these particles adhere to the compressor blading, an increase in surface roughness is seen, affecting the aerodynamic performance and in turn compressor performance.
These chemicals also react with moisture from the environment creating acidic compounds: causing corrosion; reducing the operational life of the machine, and increasing maintenance costs.
In 2012, Andrew F Bromley carried out a fouling cost prediction for three engines based on a reduction in energy output over a period of 8000 hours. He discovered a huge potential monetary cost to running a fouled turbine, suggesting that the installation and running cost of a turbine wash system is relatively insignificant in comparison and you are likely to see a return on investment within the first year.
A further issue of fouling is the blocking or partial blockages of cooling passages in hot section stators and blades. This results in improper cooling and accelerated thermal fatigue on components.
Read more about turbine cleaning on our main website: https://www.rochem-fyrewash.com/news/83-the-essentials-of-turbine-cleaning/