Small changes have big imact in power generation demineralizer systems

Over time, demineralizer efficiency can decrease due to operator practices / preferences, equipment age, regeneration practices, changes in water, flow rate, excess differential pressure, resin condition and a host of other factors. As tweaks are made to the system and procedures are modified to accommodate changes, systems move further and further away from the original specifications defined by equipment manufacturers. As time goes on, the result is a system that does not operate efficiently and results in excess regenerant chemical use, wasted water and a considerable amount of wasted time.

An electric utility holding company with over 25 fossil and nuclear facilities throughout the U.S. experienced attrition because of an aging workforce and a series of mergers and acquisitions.

Their plants were online for many years, and although system performance was good, efficiency was in a declined state at several locations. The new workforce was a talented engineering team skilled in power operations, but not fully efficient in demineralizer and polisher operations for their ion exchange systems. Additionally, many of the systems did not have specifications for proper system regeneration or optimal throughput.

The utility realized that demineralizer and condensate polisher systems across all their plants needed to be evaluated and their new team needed to be trained.

Purolite arranged to meet with managers from the utility to provide an overview of how we could support their operations. During the meeting, service and support became a critical topic. Purolite proposed training sessions for their new team as well as system evaluations for demineralizers at all plant locations.

Because of our expertise and level of service offered, Purolite was awarded a three-year contract and a two year extension to provide ion exchange resins for the utility’s non-nuclear fleet.

Many of the company’s plants shared similar designs, but each practiced its own individual regeneration and operation procedure. Purolite was asked to investigate each system and offer recommendations. As such, we conducted a PuroPass™ system survey at each location.

Each evaluation covered the following:

  • Water analysis
  • Resin analysis
  • Regeneration
  • System throughput
  • Effluent quality
Data was reviewed for each system at each plant and recommendations were made for 12 of the plants with the greatest need of adjustment. The Purolite team used our proprietary PureDesign™ calculators to provide predictive estimates on savings and efficiency that could be achieved.

Improvement potential was defined in the following areas:
  • Demineralizer efficiency
  • 80% of systems used excess regeneration chemicals, water, and time
  • Adjustments could not improve effluent quality, but could result in operational savings
Typical operational savings in the demineralizer system that could be achieved were:
  • Chemicals - reduce $65,000 annually per train
  • Water – reduce 2.0 mm gallons annually
  • Regeneration time – 46 hours per year
Further savings were achieved by adjusting the polishing units.

Additionally, because operators were better trained, they became aware of how to recognize when systems needed adjustment and could be proactive when things veer off course.

The power generation industry is cautious by nature, and plants have lean operations. Although improvement potential was acknowledged, the improvements for equipment changes and other major capital expenditures were not set to be immediate goals. However, the team acknowledge the value of what they learned about their systems and how small changes can keep systems running much more efficiently for a longer period of time.

Operation and Management teams were extremely happy with Purolite service. The utility is using a full range of products in their system including standard and uniform particle size SBA resin, Strong Base Anion resin and Mixed Bed resin and continues to utilize Purolite for training and support.

Why Purolite?
  • Second-to-none service
  • Responsive
  • Excellent product diversity
  • Work collaboratively with client