Dry Ice Blasting for HRSG Cleaning
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Dry Ice Blasting for HRSG Cleaning

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Dry Ice Blasting for HRSG Cleaning

By Jessie West | September 22 2023

Keeping heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) tubes clean is crucial for optimizing their performance and elongating their working life. However, traditional cleaning processes can be fairly risky, leading to issues like surface damage and increased back pressure.

When you need an effective and safer cleaning solution, turn to dry ice blasting, the premier way to maintain HRSG tubes.


Understanding HRSG Tube Cleaning

HRSG tubes play a key role in conducting heat and generating steam. Regular use leads to debris and contaminant buildup, including:

  • Ammonia salts
  • Iron oxide deposits
  • Sulfur deposits

Regular HRSG tube maintenance is crucial for optimizing the system’s performance. Neglecting to keep HRSG tubes clean can potentially lead to several issues:

  • Increased heat rate
  • Increased combustion turbine back pressure
  • System damage

Traditional cleaning methods for HRSG tubes can pose different risks for plant operators. The internal tubes can be highly difficult to access and adequately maintain. Luckily, dry ice blasting, also called CO2 blasting, is an effective solution for clearing out these tubes without compromising their integrity and performance.


Preparing for Co2 Blasting

When preparing your equipment for dry ice cleaning, the first step is to evaluate the HRSG system and tube conditions. An inspection will help you determine the baseline condition of the equipment. Once you take a closer look at the current status of debris buildup and accumulation in the tubes, you can gain a better sense of the job at hand. During this inspection, you’ll identify the areas that will require the most attention during the cleaning process.

The second part of preparation is ensuring you have all the necessary safety measures in place. All personnel involved should be properly trained and must understand best practices to keep maintenance efforts safe and efficient.


Dry Ice Blasting Process

The dry ice blasting process for HRSG tubes is straightforward, especially because it does not require any equipment disassembly.

After inspection, the first step is to have workers gear up in personal protective equipment to keep their skin safe from the dry ice. Then, select the appropriate dry ice blasting equipment and nozzles for the specific tubes you need to clean.

Different blasting pressure and ice pellet size settings will impact how well the tubes come clean, and an expert has the knowledge to determine the right selection for the project’s unique needs.

While many companies transport the dry ice to the site, Environmental Alternatives, Inc. makes it on-site. The process works similarly to pressure washing and involves using compressed air to blast carbon dioxide pellets into the equipment’s surface, causing it to:

  1. Freeze on contact.
  2. Break up residue.
  3. Rapidly vaporize and dislodge debris.


Benefits of CO2 Blasting for HRSG Tube Cleaning

Power plants leverage several advantages when they choose dry ice blasting to clean their HRSG tubes. The process involves no toxic, abrasive or flammable chemicals. It is effective in preserving the integrity of the tube and minimizing damage.

Compared to other traditional cleaning methods, dry ice blasting can save your operation significant time and money. It is also a safe option for maintaining equipment and doesn’t harm the environment.


Post-Cleaning Procedures

After the dry ice blasting process is complete, the post-cleaning procedures include an HRSG tube inspection. This evaluation helps ensure the dry ice is effective before disposing of residue. The floors will likely require vacuuming and sweeping afterward. An added perk of this cleaning method is that it doesn’t produce any secondary waste.

Power plants should regularly implement dry ice blasting as preventive maintenance to maximize HRSG tube performance.


Contact Environmental Alternatives, Inc. to Reap the Benefits of Dry Ice Blasting Today

Environmental Alternatives, Inc. introduced dry ice blasting to the power industry over three decades ago. Our team offers highly effective dry ice cleaning and blasting services to keep your HRSGs in peak condition.

Contact EAI for more details on our environmentally friendly dry ice HRSG cleaning services today!