Gear units improve cooling tower efficiency at Connah’s Quay25 June 2010

New Flender FZG gear units from Siemens Industry are proving their worth at Connah's Quay power station, E.On's largest combined cycle gas turbine power station, on Deeside.

E.On's project manager for the efficiency team at Connah's Quay, Graham Stevens, explains that a total of 40 original gear units, all Flender FZGs (size B2SV10), were fitted in 1994 for the cooling tower fan units.

Connah's Quay has four single-shaft units, each with a 345MW capacity, and is adjacent to a residential area, meaning that noise levels have to be minimised.

The original fans had noise-attenuating baffles, but these made them inaccessible for preventative maintenance. At 9.2 metres across and weighing 2.5 tonnes, each fan would take four to six weeks to dismantle, if a gearbox needed maintenance.

Stevens says that's why a decision was taken to install quieter fans and gearboxes – allowing removal of the baffles to increase airflow and improve accessibility.

He also says that the improved specification units supplied from the Siemens factory in Penig, Germany, were enhanced to reduce noise, and are significantly quieter than the original Flender units:

According to Stevens, the 20 new units were also fitted with 132kw inverters, and new, quieter fans were also fitted to the cooling towers. Stress on the gearboxes was reduced due to the increased airflow, and gantries were fitted for improved access and preventative maintenance.

As a result, the previous four to six week window to inspect a gearbox has now been reduced to just three days.

"It was important to us to ensure we conformed to Environment Agency requirements. The new Flender units are performing to expectations and overall noise levels have decreased, despite removing the baffles," comments Stevens.

Brian Tinham

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