CatGuard case study: Atlas Power Plant, Lahore

Using CatGuard to manage risks of catalytic fines damage in four stroke combustion engines in power plants

The use of Heavy Fuel Oil poses a growing challenge and risk because of increased concentration of cat fines. For power plants the problem is exacerbated as operators do not have the choice of bunker suppliers available to shipping in major harbours.

Our clients, MAN Turbo & Diesel PrimeServ (MDT) are dealing with the problem at the Atlas Power plant in Lahore, Pakistan. This is a 213MW Diesel Combined Cycle unit (11x 18V48/60B engine running on HFO plus waste heat recovery system with steam turbine).

Claudius Heller, MDT Primeserv’s O&M Technical Manager explains: “Fuel oil deliveries in Pakistan are prone to impurities such as aluminium and silicon – sometimes much higher than the accepted 80ppm.” He continues: “this puts the safe and reliable operation at risk due to accelerated wear of the fuel injection and combustion chamber components.” So in order to maintain reliable power supply 24/7 MDT has established stringent QA processes and procedures monitoring closely the plant operation media such as fuel oil, lube oils and cooling water.

They looked into various methods to achieve control of fuel oil quality entering the plant’s engines. They consulted colleagues at MDT Copenhagen who specialise in large two stroke engines; and the Head of the PrimeServ Laboratory Dr. Gehring, an authority on Fuel Oil analysis to seek advice. Claudius Heller again: “We’ve been looking for some time into the application of an X-ray spectroscope but there is a certain inaccuracy when measuring Alumina due to the presence of sulphur in the fuel oil. The spectrum of sulphur is close to that of Alumina. In addition the devices available in the market require a tremendous human effort. ICP proved also no real alternative – too expensive, too much staff intervention.”

MDT therefore decided to trial the CatGuard. Claudius Heller explains, “we have conducted series of tests and comparisons. Results were convincing so we decided to proceed to field installation. We have since closely followed the results and we’ve carried out a number of reference tests with ICP, proving the accuracy of the instrument.”

CatGuard was therefore installed by MDT Primeserv at Atlas Power Ltd. The Plant Manager Tabarruk Hassan Zaidi explains “The system was installed by MDT PrimeServ O&M staff in Pakistan, both the hardware and IT integration. Once the system was in place the software modification and commissioning was supported from Nanonord in Denmark online. Main issues were basically minor software problems such as driver compatibilities but the team managed to get the system running in no time. In addition to measure the Cat Fines on the incoming fuel, the system provides us with an excellent online measurement of the performance from the individual HFO Separators.

Prior the installation of CatGuard issues with fuel oil and the fuel oil treatment system itself were pretty difficult to locate “and only possible by means of extensive laboratory sampling –expensive and taking a lot of time and coordination effort.”

With CatGuard, “we have significantly reduced the risk of expensive engine damages caused by cat fines; gained confidence by establishing a safe and stable FO treatment process; and expanded our online monitoring capabilities”.

I believe CatGuard is an enabler in the important task of cleaning HFO which is generally today a “blind” process. Please contact NanoNord if you are interested in exploring the use of CatGuard.