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Renovation and Modernization of Plant OMMI (Vol.

1, Issue 2) August 2002

Note from the Editors: Renovation and Modernization of thermal power plant is an
important and timely issue for discussion. Availability is suffering in many fossil power
plants world over and many are contemplating similar efforts as those described in the
article below. Perhaps the readers will want to share their experiences.



N. Ayodhi, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd., India

Author Profile
Mr Ayodhi is a graduate in Mechanical Engineering has worked in power industry since
1970. He has several years of experience in trouble shooting of operational problems,
conducting performance guarantee tests, commissioning of boilers and rendering
assistance to utilities during major overhaul. He has conducted plant audit in a number of
units in India and abroad. He has been in-charge of engineering and project management
aspects and has executed major Renovation & Modernization of five units at Durgapur
Projects Limited, India.

Mr Ayodhi is currently working as Deputy General Manager in BHEL and is associated
with RLA and R&M jobs. R & M proposal preparation based on performance evaluation
study and remaining life assessment study is his present task in addition to special
assignments such as training and availability improvement of units. He has published a
number of papers in various national and international seminars.


The power scenario in India reveals the need to ensure better reliability and improved plant
load factor from existing thermal units. Assessment of existing plant is necessary to
establish the benchmark and to finalize the scope for renovation and modernization
activity. Life assessment based life extension program is a scientific approach to ensure
sustained generation from older units. As most of the units have reached their design life,
the main concern for any utility will be to ensure sustained generation from such units in a
cost effective way.

Steam generator in a thermal power plant is normally designed for specific life. The design
life is based on the creep-rupture properties of the steels selected for high temperature
sections. From the commencement of regular operation, the degradation starts and
assessment of pressure part components is necessary. The periodicity and the extent of
assessment depend on the service hours and operating conditions. Review of operational
history and failure details helps in deciding the scope. Based on evaluation of test results,
run/repair/replacement decision can be taken. In case of turbines it is necessary to ensure
the integrity of rotors in addition to heat rate aspects. Associated components like casing,
Renovation and Modernization of Plant OMMI (Vol. 1, Issue 2) August 2002 2
control valves and transfer piping are also to be examined. Limitations, if any, in auxiliaries
and in balance of plant are also to be studied in detail. By careful assessment and
evaluation, life extension program is possible by utilizing the margins built up in design.
This paper covers the salient details of Renovation and Modernization of a plant
commissioned in the sixties.


3 x 70 MW capacity units commissioned in mid sixties have been performing poorly and
continued operation was found to be uneconomical. Preliminary study carried out in
selective units formed the basis for broad scope finalization of Renovation &
Modernization. Detailed assessment was done by releasing each unit for overhaul in a
phased manner and final scope was frozen. Study of each unit in detail was considered
necessary since the degradation phenomena of identically designed units is likely to differ
depending upon the service conditions to which they have been subjected.

Remaining life estimation forms a part of the study in case of components designed for
finite life. Condition assessment was necessary in other areas like rotating equipment to
decide replacement/refurbishment requirement. Electrical equipment like HT Motors were
mostly considered for rewinding as the design life has exceeded in most of the cases and
class B insulation was changed to class F insulation. Detailed tests were carried out in main
equipment like generator and transformer for deciding their suitability for the intended
service life.

A comprehensive study of Coal Handling System was also carried out to arrive at
augmentation requirement. The final scope covered renovation of existing conveyors and
crusher system. New wagon tippler along with crusher and conveying system was also
considered in addition to stacker re-claimer. The plant was not built with stacker re-claimer
system originally. The refurbishment and augmentation of coal handling system was
matched with the Renovation & Modernization completion of the units.

Optimum performance of Cooling Tower and cooling water system is vital to achieve heat
rate of the machine. Refurbishment of Cooling Water system, heaters and condenser was
also covered in addition to gland steam and ejector system.
Renovation and Modernization of Plant OMMI (Vol. 1, Issue 2) August 2002 3

Modernization in Control & Instrumentation included the introduction of Teleperm ME
(Siemens) system for the distributed controls. Replacement of field equipment along with
open/closed loop controls was also included. Burner Management system was also
envisaged in boiler package in addition to milling system up-gradation considering the poor
calorific value of coal proposed to be used in future.

To meet pollution control requirement, augmentation in dust collection system was taken
care by introduction of new electro static precipitator prior to renovation. The units were
operated as base load units and planned for operation in the same way after renovation also.

Table below gives the plant details.

Boiler & TG

Front Wall Fired
Boiler (Non Reheat)
Turbine- Siemens AG

Boiler Pressure 73.8 Kg/
sqcm (g) & temperature-
500 C
Steam Flow-310 Tons/hr
Inter-Connection facility
available for cross
2 70
Front Wall Fired
Boiler(Non Reheat )
Turbine- Siemens AG
Boiler Pressure 73.8 Kg/
sqcm & temperature-
500 C
Steam Flow-310 Tons/hr

3 70
Tangential Fired
MHI Japan
Turbine- Siemens AG
Boiler Pressure 73.8 Kg/
sqcm & temperature-
500 C
Steam Flow-310 Tons/hr

During design, the calorific value of coal considered was around 4500 Kcal/Kg. Over a
period, deterioration in coal quality started and at the time of renovation the calorific value of
coal used was around 3000 Kcal/Kg. Limitation in fuel preparation system and frequent
outages were main reasons for low generation.

The details pertaining to the study carried out, findings and major replacements are covered.


Turbine lifetime is mainly determined by the design criteria, material properties and
operating conditions. The following are the main components assessed in turbine.
Renovation and Modernization of Plant OMMI (Vol. 1, Issue 2) August 2002 4
1. Casing and Valves
2. Turbine Rotors
3. Transfer Piping
4. Coupling Bolts

Details of NDE ( Non-Destructive Examination )

For the casing and valves, Liquid Penetrant Inspection was carried out for detection of
surface defects. Magnetic Particle Inspection was employed for detection of surface and
subsurface defects particularly for the inner surface of the casing and for butt welds of
transfer pipes. The lifetime of piping is limited by the creep property and hence
metallurgical examination using replica technique was employed.

Remaining Life Assessment Approach for Turbine Rotors

The HP/IP and LP are solid Rotors. The shafts with low toughness property and having
inner cracks are prone for instantaneous failures. Hence special re-qualification procedure
developed by Original Equipment Manufacturer was employed.

Ultrasonic inspection technique using straight beam transducer was carried out to detect
and size the defects in HP/IP rotor. (Single rotor and no radial bore in HP/IP rotor) The
LP rotor was envisaged with radial bores and the same was additionally examined by
Eddy current testing as well by UT for detection and sizing the surface breaking defects.

To avoid brittle failure of a rotor, the internal crack like material defect should be lower
than the critical crack size. This is dependent on stress and natural toughness. Using finite
element program the critical size is evaluated taking into account the centrifugal, thermal
and residual stresses. The critical crack size in terms of equivalent flat bottom hole (EFH)
is arrived based on the analysis and is compared with the EFH size derived from the test
result. The quotient between critical crack size and final defect size produces the safety
factor S against brittle fracture. The decision to run/replace was arrived based on safety
Renovation and Modernization of Plant OMMI (Vol. 1, Issue 2) August 2002 5


Microstructure of piping

The piping from boiler outlet to turbine inlet was checked for service degradation. UT
was carried out to ensure the integrity of welds. Replication was done in weld locations
covering parent metal, weld and heat affected zone and pipe bends. The spots in the
bends covered the tensile portion, middle and compressive portion. Mechanical polishing
was adopted and the replication was done using acetate film. The replicas were evaluated
and classified according to the guidelines in VGB TW 507. Replacement/re-inspection
interval has been fixed depending on the degradation observed in piping.

The Table below gives the major findings and replacements.

Sl. No Description 70 MW
1 Steam transfer pipes Creep cavities found and Replaced (15 MO3 )
2 HP/IP Casing Refurbished with modified blades (HP casing)
3 LP Casing Refurbished with new blades (all stages)
4 HP/IP Rotor One rotor replaced with new rotor as the re-
qualification study indicated low safety factor.
Other two rotors refurbished with modified blades.
5 LP Rotor One rotor replaced with new rotor as the re-
qualification study indicated low safety factor.
Other two rotors refurbished with modified blades.
6 Gland Steam regulation Changed with new system.


The auxiliaries like boiler feed pump, condensate extraction pump and heat exchangers
were checked. Re-tubing was carried out in case of ejector, heaters and in condenser as
per findings. The boiler feed pumps were replaced with new pumps and new automatic
re-circulation control valve was envisaged. Refurbishment of existing pumps was not
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attempted due to spares problem for obsolete design. In case of Cooling Water Pumps, it
was necessary to carry out reverse engineering for refurbishment of pumps. Such
approach was inevitable since new pumps could not be accommodated in the existing
layout. The cooling towers and the Cooling Tower fans were refurbished as per the
condition assessment study. The Gland Steam Regulation system was replaced with new
control valve to ensure proper gland sealing. Group heater protection interlock was
envisaged for HP heaters. With the above the heat rate of turbine guaranteed was


The degradation of any electrical equipment during service is normal and periodic
inspection and diagnostic tests are essential to establish base record and to have trend
analysis. The electrical equipment built in late sixties had ground insulation composed of
Mica Splitting tapes bonded in thermo-set resin. The following table gives the details of
insulation degradation mechanism.

Sl.No Degradation Reason Effect
1 Overheating Overload, failure of
cooling system.
Insulation to become brittle
causing cracks.
2 Ionization Electrical break down of
the gas in the voids
between the tape layers
and in the impregnation.
Reduction in dielectric strength.
3 Over Voltage Repeated non-transient
over voltage
Enhanced ionization causing
break down in some weak
4 Improper
Out of phase
synchronization and
improper adjustment in
voltage level.
Mechanical damage to coils and
coil bracing system. Possibility
of cracks developing on the
insulation surface.
5 Mechanical
Excessive vibration and
over speed.
Hot spots on stator core.
Possibility of short circuit
between coils due to damage in

The following tests were conducted in the generator.


1. Visual inspection for any abnormality on the core, winding and bus bar supports.
2. Hammer test to check the tightness of the slot wedges.
3. DC leakage test up to 6.3 KV
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4. DC winding resistance of the Stator using DLRO (Digital Low Resistance
5. Electro Magnetic Core Imperfection Detection (ELCID) test to check the integrity
of insulation between stator core laminations using computerized digital equipment.
A small fraction of rated excitation is necessary to generate fault currents within the
core body.
6. Checking of capacitance & Di-electric loss at voltages from 1KV to 4KV in steps of
1 KV.


UT for detecting any discontinuity or presence of stress corrosion crack in retaining rings.
This inspection was carried out across entire circumstances using 2MHz straight search
The impedance test (At 230 Volts AC) and insulation resistance value has been checked
as per normal practice.
The electrical fault between winding (inter turn winding fault) if any will display in
excessive mechanical vibration. By applying 12 V DC voltage step between one end of
the rotor winding and the rotor body, this phenomenon has been checked using digital
RSO (Recurrent Surge Oscillograph) test.
Based on the above tests the run/ re-insulation/ replacement decision has been arrived.
Re wedging and varnishing of insulation were carried out in all units. The end bells in
one 70 MW rotor showed discontinuities in UT test and were replaced with new retaining
rings. With this the generators were cleared for operation.


Life assessment was carried out in boiler pressure parts in addition to condition
assessment of various auxiliaries.

Arrangement of new Platen Super Heater with increased mass flow rate

(Six coil arrangement changed to four coil arrangement by blanking two stubs in each
assembly of inlet and outlet header.)

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Boiler components can be classified as follows.
Low temperature components covering economizer, water walls and low
temperature super heater coils.
High temperature super heater.
Critical piping and headers.

Assessment techniques adopted were based on degradation mechanism and failure
history. Low temperature components were checked up for material wastage in
addition to Hydrogen damage using attenuation principle of Ultrasonic sound energy
waves. Selection of representative location for sampling of tubes and for NDE survey
was decided after careful visual inspection.

The high temperature sections covering super heater coils and the headers are
susceptible to time dependent degradation mechanism called creep. The weld joints of
the header are prone for fatigue damages and the combined effect of creep and fatigue
is to be assessed for deciding the usefulness of the component. The ligament sections
of the header are prone for cyclic damage and are to be normally inspected using
internal inspection equipment for ligament cracks. The super heater coils are to be
checked for material wastage as well as presence of oxide scale on the steam side
surface for determining the remaining life. The headers and piping are to be examined
for service degradation by replication in addition to NDE of welds. The boiler
components were examined in line with the above.

Plant audit in running condition is vital to decide the performance capability and to
identify system limitation if any in achieving full load. The performance evaluation
study should aim in checking

System adequacy like capacity of the ID and FD fans, fuel preparation system
and firing system.
Possible improvement in efficiency of the steam generator.
Modernization of controls and instrumentation to improve the operational
flexibility including introduction of burner management system.
The above aspects were taken care prior to overhaul. The plant audit and the
findings along with the outcome of assessment study formed the basis for scope


Deterioration in coal quality results not only in limiting the milling capacity but also
in increasing the possibility of erosion of pressure parts. The effect of high ash
content was considered in boiler design review. The details are given below.

Milling system up gradation by replacing with higher capacity mills.
High capacity primary air fan for handling the fuel and change of fuel pipe.
The burner capacity and heat release aspect.
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Coal characterization for slagging / fouling and its effect on furnace absorption
and also heat pick up in super heater.
Spray requirement and redesign of de-superheating system.
Material up gradation in super heater coils to match the metal temperatures
Reduction in gas velocity by increasing the free gas area wherever replacement
has been envisaged.
The mechanical design of new equipment with reference to reliable operation.
The pre commissioning requirement like chemical cleaning and steam blowing.

The above aspects were considered in various stages of renovation activity. The
following Table gives the details of replacement in boiler.

Sl. No. Description Units # 3 & 4 Unit # 5
Boiler Drum
Cleared for continuous
Lamination observed and
hence re-inspection
recommended after 15,000
hours of operation.
2. Water Walls Fully replaced in unit 4
and partial replacement
in unit 3.
Good condition.
3. Boiler bank
Fully replaced since
erosion observed in all
Bank tubes in good
condition and no
replacement done.
4. Super
Heater coils
Outlet section replaced
with higher grade
material. (T 22)
Outlet section replaced
with higher grade
material. (T 22)
5. Platen Super
Heater coils
and Headers
Mass flow rate increased
by reducing no of parallel
circuits and full
replacement with new
coils. Headers retained.
Coils in good condition.
Super heater outlet header
replaced with new header
due to sagging.
6. BMS Newly introduced. Newly introduced.

Balance of Plant

The original coal handling system was designed for 500 TPH. The maximum capacity
of the system at the time of study was around 250 TPH only. This is because of
various constraints in the crusher and in conveying system. The new Coal Handling
Plant incorporated was integrated with the existing system. The capacity of the new
system envisaged is 2 X 500 TPH. Provision was also made for feeding coal to other
units in the plant also. 2 X 35 cubic meter capacity Water Treatment plant was
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also envisaged in the renovation plan. The Controls & Instrumentation system was
changed to Programmable Logic Controls (PLC) integrating old plant with new plant.

PLC based new CHP Stacker Reclaimer

The salient milestone details of major activities are given below:

The plant load factor of the units prior to renovation was in the range of 30 to 40 %. The
availability of the units after renovation was more than 80 % and the plant load factor was
around 65%. Further improvement in plant load factor is possible provided the restrictions
in load evacuation in the grid are overcome.

The assessment and renovation activities were carried out successfully, however certain
unforeseen problems were experienced during trial run. The details pertaining to the above
aspects are discussed.

During reliability run of the unit, frequent failure of the internal lever of the loading arm
unit of the mill was experienced. Observation revealed the surface of the failed component
to be bright, shiny and crystalline. The failure of the component was brittle in nature.
Chemical analysis, tensile test, hardness survey and micro examination of the component
were carried out for identifying the root cause of the failure. Though the material
composition met with the specification of the material selected, the yield strength and
ultimate tensile strength did not meet the specification. Also the failed samples were found
to have coarse grain dendritic structure indicating the possibility for brittle failure. The
Sl.No Description Unit # 4 Unit # 5 Unit # 3
1. Boiler Hydro 17
Aug 2000 27
April 2001 5
Oct 2001
2. Boiler Light-Up 8
Nov 2000 7
June 2001 21
Oct 2001
3. Synchronization 20
Jan 2001 5
Aug 2001 24
Dec 2001
4. Full Load 28
April 2001 17
Oct 2001 30
Dec 2001
Renovation and Modernization of Plant OMMI (Vol. 1, Issue 2) August 2002 11
analysis confirmed that the structure is in as cast condition which is quite unusual and
unlikely for this type of material to achieve the desired strength and ductility. No proper
heat treatment was carried out after casting and this resulted in failure. The desired
microstructure of this steel testing should be fine grained, pearlite in ferrite matrix
necessary for increasing the strength and ductility to avoid such service failure. The
material specification for the above component discussed
was IS1030 Gr.340. On replacement with better design the failures were eliminated. This
feedback was taken care in the mills of the other units well in advance.


In one of the units, part replacement of water walls was carried out based on the
assessment. Sample tube from an un-replaced portion was analyzed for deposit content and
for deciding the chemical cleaning requirement. The deposit content was found to be more
than 40 milligrams per centimeter square. The solvent selection was done based on the
analysis of coupons in the laboratory.

Copper removal and cleaning of the tubes was carried out using hydrochloric acid by
circulation method. The effectiveness of the chemical cleaning was confirmed by internal
examination of the sample tube from water wall taken after first stage passivation. The
presence of magnetite coating was also seen.

When the unit was brought back in service, pinhole leaks from water wall tubes were
experienced. The failures were confined to the tubes near the hopper portion and also near
the gooseneck. On examination of the failed tubes, lot of internal corrosion was seen on the
fireside surface of the tubes. The observations reveal the following.

The sample tube removed for deposit analysis from high heat flux zone did not show any
corrosion pitting. But the hopper portion of the tubes that had internal pittings became
vulnerable for further corrosion. During the process of chemical cleaning, the corrosion
deposits got accumulated in the pitted portion and removal of such deposits could not be
done effectively by cold and hot water flushing. When the boiler was brought back in
service, numerous failures in water walls were experienced and massive replacement was
warranted as corrective measure.


Renovation and Modernization job is a complex process as compared to Green field
Upkeep of plant history is most important for such jobs.
Life Extension for another 15 to 20 years is possible even after the units have
undergone service period of more than150,000 hours of operation.
Cash flow in a phased manner is to be ensured for achieving targets as per plan.
Renovation and Modernization of Plant OMMI (Vol. 1, Issue 2) August 2002 12
By careful planning it is possible to complete renovation of the first unit within 18
months from the date of study. Thereafter each unit can be completed in six months
NDT Techniques to be adopted are to be carefully planned.
Unforeseen requirement at the time of execution if any arises is to be
accommodated within the schedule.
Retraining of operation and maintenance personal is extremely important. It is
preferable to involve the persons right from the construction stage.
It is suggested that the operating persons are involved right from commissioning
which helps them in building their level of confidence in problem solving.
The cost for Renovation and Modernization will range from 30 to 40% of the total
cost required to construct a new plant.
A collective and coordinated approach among the consultant/customer/executing
agency is very much essential for successful completion of R & M activity in time.


Condition assessment guidelines for Fossil Fuel Power Plant components- EPRI
Re-qualification of Turbine components Procedure and Experience by Mr.
Michael Siegal / SIEMENS.
Renovation, Up-gradation and Modernization of Durgapur Projects Power Station:
Life Extension Program First of its kind in INDIA by N.AYODHI and M.K.PAL-
Power Gen 2000 (DELHI).
Life assessment and Life extension of Thermal Power Plants employing NDT
technique - a case study by N. AYODHI EPRI Conference March 2002.
VGB TW 507 guidelines for replication.