Using of the turbine oil: benefits and testing

Oil used in various industries are divided into various types and subtypes. Physical properties and chemical composition divide oil into classes and categories. Various industries require specific oil types.

There is a group of oils for the energy industry, which includes turbine, dielectric (transformer) and compressor oils. Specific requirements are applied to each of the categories.

Also, depending on oil type, moisture and gas content are regulated, as well as some other specifications.

Since oils inevitably age with time under the influence of water and solid particle contamination, the natural process of oil consumption becomes a problem related to the costs of repairs and downtime, with the obvious adverse effect on company revenues.

In the case of turbine oil, sediment on the surface of internal parts may lead to serious problems, including wear of regulation devices, command valves etc. In turn, moisture promotes corrosion, dilutes anti-oxidation additives and increases foaming, which also degrades lubrication.

Therefore, power generation facilities implement systems for turbine oil quality control both during operation and storage. Neglecting the regulations may cause serious problems for turbines, including failures and extended downtime due to complete or partial breakdown of equipment.

Contamination of turbine oils leads to degradation of their original properties and reduces efficiency of oil filled equipment. In the most severe cases this will cause serious malfunctions, requiring long costly repairs.

Coming back to the issues of equipment downtime due to failures and repairs, let us refer to the statistics. Research shows that in similar situations in power plants (thermal and nuclear), turbine adjustment system failure rate has grown in recent decades, including failures of internal rotating part bearings. All of the cases were related to contamination of turbine oil.

The causes named above, after a look at power plant failure statistics, require efficient solutions.

The simplest and the most obvious solution is oil quality control and oil replacement. In practice this is, however, complicated, spawning several problems. First, complete removal of oil, sediment and other contaminants is impossible. Second, the disposal of used oil is a problem in itself. Constant disposal costs may eventually exceed estimated repairs cost.

The optimal solution, all things considered, is purification and regeneration of used turbine oil. Various types of mobile plants connected directly to the turbine assembly from which contaminated oil is drawn, removal gas and water, filter out solid particles and generally fully restore the oil to its original specifications.

For instance, the CMM mobile oil plants degas, remove contaminants and sediment from turbine oil. Among the advantages of these units is their capability to process the oil in one pass, significantly extending oil service life.

Depending on the needs of the facility, CMM plants may be either mobile or stationary. For larger facilities, CMM plants come with extra features, from additional filters to additional regeneration sections.

The main issues for any business are the possible profit and loss. The cost of regenerating 1 ton (depending on the type of purified, regenerated and lightened product) varies between US$6.5 to US$35. At the same time, disposal of industrial waste is a costly affair. Oil purification plants pay for themselves in a rather short time of 5 – 6 months at current prices.


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