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Lime Slurry Piping Reduces Westar Plant Downtime

limestone slurry pipingOne of the many advantages of working with fiberglass is its versatility. Fiberglass can be used in abrasive and corrosive applications, but it can also be used to create custom parts to fit almost any need. Which is why we were so excited to help Westar Energy, the largest electrical power producer in Kansas, develop a fiberglass pipe solution in one of their coal-fired centers.

Three years ago Westar Energy refurbished a Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD) system. Designed to remove sulfur dioxide, the system makes use of an abrasive limestone slurry. The limestone slurry caused areas of the system to experience high wear. When high wear areas needed to be replaced the system had to be shut down, resulting in costly downtime. We worked with Westar Energy to identify problem areas throughout the system and made design changes the reduced downtime and repair costs.

To find out how we helped the largest electrical power producer in Kansas design an abrasive resistant solution that helped reduce plant downtime, read the Westar FRP case study here.


Westar Uses Limestone Slurry Piping To Reduce Plant Down Time

westar energy

Westar Energy is the largest electric power producer in Kansas. From their various “energy centers” they produce electricity from wind, coal, nuclear, natural gas and landfill gas. Three years ago, in one of their coal fired centers, they refurbished their Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD) system. The purpose of this system is to remove the sulfur dioxide (SO2) from the flue gas emissions. Limestone slurry is a product used in the flue gas emissions process to remove SO2. The limestone is abrasive and requires an abrasive resistant piping system. Abrasion resistant fiberglass pipe was chosen to move the limestone slurry within the system.

Westar fiberglass pipeAfter some time in operation, it was determined that there were areas of “high wear” in one of the 8 inch fiberglass pipe lines at some of the elbow locations. In order to replace the worn elbows, it required the shutting down of the system, draining of the lines, and time for fiberglass service crews to cut out and replace the elbow sections with butt and wrap joints.

Beetle Fiberglass repairThe Beetle Plastics LLC Technical Services Group, along with our sales representative Steve Furman of Tompkins, Furman & Associates, worked with Westar personnel at the site to understand the problem and to develop a design change to reduce their downtime due to these “high wear” elbows. The end design was to replace the “butt and wrap” fiberglass pipe elbows with flanged elbow connections. This design allows quick change out of the elbows when the wear issues occur. These change outs can be done by plant personnel without the time and expense for outside fiberglass field service crews, thus reducing cost and shortening the down time for the replacements.

The cost to shut down a power plant for an emergency repair is very high, both in the cost of power generation lost and manpower to make the repair. The solution developed through the cooperation between the personnel at Beetle, Westar and Tompkins, Furman will help to reduce future pipe maintenance costs in this FGD system and assure continued supply of electric power to Westar’s many customers.