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GEK 116742
October 2010

GE Energy

Shaft Sealing System


Hydrogen-Cooled Generators: Scavenging

These instructions do not purport to cover all details or variations in equipment nor to provide for every possible
contingency to be met in connection with installation, operation or maintenance. Should further information be
desired or should particular problems arise which are not covered sufficiently for the purchaser's purposes the
matter should be referred to the GE Company.
General Electric Company, 2010. GE Proprietary Information. All Rights Reserved.
GEK 116742 Shaft Sealing System

The below will be found throughout this publication. It is important that the significance of each is thoroughly
understood by those using this document. The definitions are as follows:

NOTE

Highlights an essential element of a procedure to assure correctness.

CAUTION

Indicates a potentially hazardous situation, which, if not avoided, could result in


minor or moderate injury or equipment damage.

WARNING

INDICATES A POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS SITUATION,


WHICH, IF NOT AVOIDED, COULD RESULT IN DEATH OR
SERIOUS INJURY

***DANGER***
INDICATES AN IMMINENTLY HAZARDOUS SITUA-
TION, WHICH, IF NOT AVOIDED WILL RESULT IN
DEATH OR SERIOUS INJURY.

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Shaft Sealing System GEK 116742

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. PURPOSE ....................................................................................................................................... 4

II. DESIGN FEATURES (REFERENCE THE TURBINE-GENERATOR P&ID) ..................... 4


A. Shaft Seal ................................................................................................................................. 4
B. Seal Oil Control........................................................................................................................ 4
C. Oil Filter ................................................................................................................................... 4
D. Differential Pressure Regulator................................................................................................ 4
E. Instrumentation ........................................................................................................................ 5
F. Seal Drain Enlargement and Float Trap ................................................................................... 5
G. Bearing Drain Enlargement...................................................................................................... 6

III. III. OPERATION (SEE THE TURBINE-GENERATOR P&ID) ............................................. 6


A. General ..................................................................................................................................... 6
B. Checking the High Oil Level Alarm ........................................................................................ 6
C. Putting the Shaft Seals (H2 Seals) in Operation ...................................................................... 7
D. Charging the Casing with Air (Also Reference Gas Control Valve Operation Diagram)........ 7
E. Adjustment of the Pressure Regulator...................................................................................... 8
F. Adjustment of the Seal Oil Pressure Switches......................................................................... 8
G. Shaft Seal Oil Flow Check....................................................................................................... 9
H. Float Trap Vent Line ................................................................................................................ 9
I. Operation at Reduced Gas Pressures........................................................................................ 9
J. Oil Filter Transfer..................................................................................................................... 10
K. Oil Filter Cartridge Replacement ............................................................................................ 10

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GEK 116742 Shaft Sealing System

I. PURPOSE

To safely and effectively employ hydrogen for generator cooling, it is necessary to contain the gas in the
generator casing. Therefore, shaft seals are required at each end of the generator where the rotor extends
through the end shield. A radial oil film type seal is used for this purpose.

II. DESIGN FEATURES (REFERENCE THE TURBINE-GENERATOR P&ID)

A. Shaft Seal

The shaft seal at each end of the generator consists of a two-piece hydrogen seal casing containing a
pair of babbitted steel rings. Each ring is made up of two 180-degree segments to facilitate assembly
of the seal rings into the hydrogen seal casing. The ring segments are assembled against the side walls
of the seal casings using garter springs, and are held concentric with the shaft by the hydraulic pressure
of the seal oil. The rings, which have a bore diameter only a few mils greater than the shaft journal, are
free to float radially but are prevented from rotating with the shaft by a stop in the upper half of each seal
casing. Oil from the seal oil control system at a pressure of about 5.5 psi (37.9 kPa) above the hydrogen
pressure in the generator is supplied to the seal casing. The oil then passes radially through the space
between the rings and axially along the shaft between the shaft and seal rings in both directions. It is
this thin film of oil between the shaft surface and the rings that actually seals the hydrogen within the
casing.

The total oil flow to the inner- or hydrogen-side rings of the two shaft seals is nominally in the range of
two gallons (7.57 liters) per minute, while the flow from the outer- or air-side rings is several times that
amount. A large air-side flow is needed to cool the rings while a low hydrogen-side flow is essential
for satisfactory operation of the continuous scavenging system.

B. Seal Oil Control

Pressurized oil for the seals is supplied from the main lubrication system to the seal oil controls where
it is regulated to maintain the 5.5 psi (37.9 kPa) differential. The quantity of the total seal oil flow can
be read directly from the flow meter.

C. Oil Filter

Depending upon the application, some seal oil systems have oil filters to filter the oil before it is fed
to the seals. The oil filter is a duplex type with a transfer valve. One filter housing is in operation at a
time. By means of the transfer valve the operation can be switched to the other housing while the first
is serviced. The procedure is reversed when the second housing needs service. The filter elements are
resin treated pleated paper and should be replaced before the differential pressure reaches 6 psid (41.4
kPa). An alarm for high differential pressure across the filter is set at 8 psid (55.2 kPa).

D. Differential Pressure Regulator

A pilot-operated differential pressure regulator is provided for controlling the seal oil pressure at the
shaft seal. The pilot-operated valve uses inlet pressure as the operating medium, which is reduced
through pilot operation to load the actuator diaphragm. Outlet or downstream pressure opposes load-
ing pressure in the actuator and also opposes the pilot control spring. The pilot-operated regulator is
designed to maintain a constant differential pressure across the hydrogen seals.

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Shaft Sealing System GEK 116742

The upper connection of the pilot valve diaphragm is piped to the seal drain enlargement and senses the
gas pressure in the generator casing. The lower connection of the pilot valve diaphragm is piped to one
of the two lower connections of the regulator diaphragm. The other lower connection of the regulator
diaphragm is piped to the seal oil supply line and senses oil pressure being supplied to the shaft seals.
When the outlet pressure drops below the setting of the pilot control spring, pilot control spring force in
turn opens the pilot valve plug, providing additional loading pressure to the actuator diaphragm. This
loading pressure tends to open the main body valve thus supplying the required flow downstream to
the seals. When the downstream pressure is satisfied the outlet pressure tends to increase which in turn
acts on the pilot and actuator diaphragms. This pressure exceeds the pilot control spring setting, thus
letting the valve plug spring close the pilot valve plug. Reduced actuator loading pressure permits the
main valve to close. Once adjusted, the regulator will maintain a nearly constant 5.5 psi (37.9 kPa)
pressure differential between the seal oil and the generator hydrogen through the complete range of
hydrogen pressures.

E. Instrumentation

An instrument panel contains a differential pressure gauge and three differential pressure switches.
These instruments sense seal oil pressure at the seals with respect to gas pressure. Two switches activate
on low-low seal oil differential pressure, to start the dc emergency seal oil pump located on the lube
oil tank. A switch also activates and sends an alarm to the control system on low seal oil differential
pressure. Pressure gauges are provided to measure seal oil pressure upstream of the differential pressure
regulator, at the turbine end seal oil feed line, and at the collector end seal oil feed line. A flow meter
provides indication of total seal oil supply to the seals. Valving is provided for adjusting, testing and
draining all instruments.

Differential pressure instruments, measuring gas pressure versus seal oil pressure, must be recalibrated
in the field due to static oil head in gas pressure sensing lines from seal oil enlargement to skid. Instru-
ments should read seal oil differential pressure as would be read at the generator seals.

F. Seal Drain Enlargement and Float Trap

A hydrogen detraining tank (seal drain enlargement), is provided for removing entrained hydrogen gas
from the hydrogen side seal ring oil discharge. The seal drain enlargement (SDE) may be configured
as two smaller tanks, or as one tank with an internal baffle. The seal drain enlargement(s) is located
below the generator casing and above the level of the air detraining tank (bearing drain enlargement).
In either seal drain arrangement, both the CE and TE discharge are drained through a common line to
a float trap. The float trap, which is required to prevent the loss of hydrogen with the drain oil when
operating at elevated hydrogen pressures, drains to the bearing drain enlargement (BDE) where further
detraining takes place before the oil returns to the main lubricating oil tank. The float trap assembly
is separate from the seal oil control unit and is mounted in close proximity to the generator at a level
below the seal drain enlargement.

Piping from the top of the CE and TE seal drain enlargement(s) connects to control valving and a
flowmeter in the hydrogen control cabinet. The lines are equipped with oil traps to prevent oil from
filling the hydrogen control panel in the event of an abnormally high oil level in the seal drain enlarge-
ment. This arrangement permits a small amount of hydrogen to be continuously discharged to atmos-
phere from each seal drain enlargement. This discharge of hydrogen causes a small flow of hydrogen
past the inner oil deflector of the generator hydrogen seal casing. This flow prevents air liberated from
the hydrogen side seal oil, as it passes through the drain chamber of the seal casing, from passing into
the generator casing. Since this scavenged hydrogen must be continually replaced with pure hydrogen,
the purity of the gas in the generator casing is maintained at a high value.

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GEK 116742 Shaft Sealing System

Another vertical pipe - open at the top - is located inside one of the seal drain enlargements to collect
the oil which results from an abnormally high oil level in the enlargement. This overflow is piped to a
liquid detector with an alarm switch. Since the TE and CE enlargements are connected either internally
or by a common drain line, a high level in either will result in the operation of the alarm. An abnormally
high oil level is usually caused by incorrect operation of the drain valves or float trap.

G. Bearing Drain Enlargement

The air-side seal oil, the generator bearing oil, and the hydrogen-side seal oil (after passing through the
seal drain enlargement and float trap) drain to a chamber mounted on the generator casing (bearing drain
enlargement). The bearing drain enlargement (BDE), provides a large surface area for defoaming and
detraining the oil before it is returned through a loop seal to the main lubricating oil tank. Hydrogen that
is in solution within the oil will also be released due to the drop to atmospheric and vent to atmosphere
by way of a customer connection mounted to the top of the bearing drain enlargement.

In the event of failure of the shaft seal oil supply, hydrogen will pass from the generator into the bearing
drain enlargement and be vented to the atmosphere. The oil loop seal provides a barrier to prevent the
hydrogen from entering the main lubricating oil tank.

III. III. OPERATION (SEE THE TURBINE-GENERATOR P&ID)

A. General

1. Whether the generator is running with air or hydrogen, it is necessary at all times to have the shaft
seals in operation.

2. When running with air, shaft sealing is necessary in order to supply oil to the seal rings to prevent
their heating up and seizing the shaft (due to small diametral clearance between seal rings and the
shaft).

3. When running with hydrogen, shaft sealing is necessary in order to confine the hydrogen in the
generator casing.

B. Checking the High Oil Level Alarm

The high oil level alarm switch actuates an alarm when there is an abnormal rise in the oil level in the
seal drain enlargement.

To test the operation of this switch, first close the isolation valve then remove the fill pipe cap and pour
in water. This should cause the float in the switch to rise and close the alarm contacts. After testing,
drain the water by removing the drainpipe cap. Replace both pipe caps and open isolation valve.

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Shaft Sealing System GEK 116742

C. Putting the Shaft Seals (H2 Seals) in Operation

The shaft seals may be put into operation, and adjustments made to the seal oil components, any time
after the lubrication system and seal oil system have been completely flushed and are ready for oper-
ation. Adjustments to the seal oil system must only be made when seal oil is being properly supplied
from the main lubrication system.

When putting the shaft seals in operation the following steps should be followed:

1. Isolate all sensing and flow valves to differential pressure regulator (No pressure in the downstream
line).

2. Fully open the downstream sensing and flow valves.

3. Open upstream flow valve just enough to hear flow start running through regulator valve.

4. Once flow can be read on the flow meter slowly open the upstream flow valve to the fully open
position.

5. When the valve is regulating steadily, slowly open the upstream sensing valve to the fully open
position.

Oil from the main lubrication system is supplied through the pressure regulator and flow meter to the
shaft seals. Following the steps listed above will ensure sudden pressure changes will not damage the
diaphragm of the pilot valve and/or pressure regulator. The main valve diaphragm is designed for a
maximum differential pressure of 100 - 125 psid (689.5 - 861.8 kPa), and care should be taken never
to exceed this value. All other valves on the seal oil control system should be open or closed as shown
on the P&ID for normal operation. Check to make sure that seal oil is flowing to the seals. This will
be indicated by the flow meter.

D. Charging the Casing with Air (Also Reference Gas Control Valve Operation Diagram)

Adjustments of the seal oil control components should be made with the hydrogen supply disconnected
and air pressure in the generator casing. Start the seal oil pump. Remove the pipe plug from the air
test/purge connection located in the purging control valves assembly and admit dry air to the casing
through this connection. Adjust the valves to charge the casing with 15 psi (103.4 kPa) of air as read on
the casing pressure gauge on the hydrogen manifold and/or the hydrogen control panel pressure gauge.

NOTE

Gas in the differential pressure regulator or the pilot lines will create system insta-
bility resulting in alarm or trip. Thus it is necessary to bleed all gas from all the
sensing lines prior to differential pressure adjustment to ensure optimum regulator
valve performance.

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GEK 116742 Shaft Sealing System

E. Adjustment of the Pressure Regulator

1. Adjust the pilot-operated differential pressure regulator valve to hold the shaft seal oil pressure as
read on the differential pressure gauge at about 6.5 psi (44.8 kPa) above machine gas pressure.
(the differential pressure gauge displays a value roughly 1 psi (6.9 kPa) above the actual 5.5 psi
(37.9 kPa) shaft seal oil vs. machine gas pressure reading due to oil head between the machine and
differential pressure gauge.

2. Confirm the adjustment by subtracting the reading from the machine gas pressure transmitter from
the seal oil feed pipe pressure reading, found at the end shield, to achieve a 5.5 psi (37.9 kPa)
differential.

3. If the differential between the machine gas pressure transmitter and the seal oil feed pressure is not
5.5 psi (37.9 kPa), adjust the differential pressure regulator accordingly. Ultimately the reading at
the differential pressure gauge should lie between 6-7 psi (41.4 48.3 kPa), however, the differ-
ential pressure reading between the seal oil pressure, found at the end shield, and the machine gas
pressure transmitter must be 5.5 psi (37.9 kPa).

To make the actual adjustment, remove the adjusting screw cap on the pilot valve and loosen the hex
nut. To increase the differential pressure setting, turn the adjusting screw clockwise; to decrease the
differential pressure setting, turn the adjusting screw counterclockwise. Tighten the hex nut while
holding the adjusting screw and replace the adjusting screw cap. Due to potential differing pipe run
lengths to the TE and CE, the seal oil pressure may differ among ends to maintain the nominal 5.5 psi
(37.9 kPa) differential pressure at each seal.

It should be noted that while the differential pressure regulator will hold a nearly constant 5.5 psi (37.9
kPa) differential over the entire range of casing gas pressures, slight manual adjustments may be re-
quired at some operating pressures.

F. Adjustment of the Seal Oil Pressure Switches

The seal oil differential pressure switches are adjusted to:

1. (LOW) Sound an alarm on the annunciator panel when the seal oil differential pressure drops to
approximately 4.5 psi (31.0 kPa) (low pressure switch).

2. (LOW/LOW) Start the DC emergency seal oil pump, begin the automatic purge sequence, and
sound an alarm on the annunciator panel when the seal oil differential pressure drops to approxi-
mately 3.5 psi (24.1 kPa) (low/low pressure switches).

To adjust the low-pressure switch, isolate the switch by way of the isolation valves and crack open
the drain valves until the differential pressure gauge reads 4.5 psi (31,0 kPa) above the machine gas
pressure. Make any internal adjustments necessary to the pressure switch to actuate the contacts when
this differential pressure is reached.

Further reduce the seal oil pressure at the differential pressure gauge to 3.5 psi (24.1 kPa) above the
machine gas pressure. Adjust redundant low/low pressure switches internally to actuate the contacts
at this pressure.

When the emergency seal oil pump has come into service, it will run for 30 minutes and then shut off
automatically.

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Shaft Sealing System GEK 116742

G. Shaft Seal Oil Flow Check

The total quantity of oil passing through the shaft seals may be determined by reading the flow meter.
The flow values should be equal to or less than those given on the Hydrogen Design Data sheet.

CAUTION

Seal oil might contain hydrogen, which, in contact with any ignition points will
lead to fire/ explosion.

NOTE

The main lubrication system should be properly supplying oil to the seals during
the following check of seal oil flows.

The hydrogen-side seal oil flow is determined by draining from the float trap assembly drain valve into
a measuring container for a fixed period of time. This can be done by bypassing the float trap by closing
the float trap inlet valve from the seal drain enlargement and the return valve back to the bearing drain
enlargement and opening the drain valve and upstream/downstream sight indicator isolation valves.
Throttle the downstream bypass valve to hold the level of the sight indicator between the isolation
valves at approximately one-half full during the measuring period.

An alternative method of determining the hydrogen-side seal oil flow is to close the valve directly
upstream from the main float trap assembly drain valve and slowly drain oil from the float trap by
opening the main drain valve - maintaining the oil level within the sight glass of the float trap.

The total flow through the flow meter, minus the hydrogen-side flow past the main drain valve equals
the air-side flow.

After flow measurement, all valves should be returned to normal operating positions as per diagram.

H. Float Trap Vent Line

The float trap vent line valve back to the seal drain enlargement is normally left open; it is closed only
when it is necessary to isolate the float trap for servicing.

I. Operation at Reduced Gas Pressures

It may be necessary to operate with the float trap bypass open when operating at lower generator cas-
ing gas pressures in order to avoid flooding the seal drain enlargement. When the generator casing gas
pressure is low, approximately 5 psi (34.5 kPa) or less, the gas pressure in the seal drain enlargement
may not be sufficient to overcome the friction in the piping between the seal drain enlargement and
bearing drain enlargement, and flooding of the seal drain enlargement may occur. As casing gas pres-
sure builds up to approximately 5 psi (34.5 kPa), the bypass valve must be closed so that gas will not
be blown into the bearing drain enlargement. Bypassing is accomplished by operating the float trap
assembly and sight indicator valves as described in Section III.G.

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GEK 116742 Shaft Sealing System

J. Oil Filter Transfer

This section is applicable to units that have duplex filters. Only one filter housing is in service at one
time. Before switching filters, it is necessary to fill the alternate filter with oil, and vent the filter housing
to prevent air from being carried to the generator seal rings. When the transfer valve is in either extreme
position, it will circulate oil through one filter housing and, at the same time, shut off oil flow to the
idle filter. In the halfway position oil will flow through both filters. If the filter assembly is equipped
with a stand-by filter fill valve, it shall be used to fill the stand-by filter before transferring oil flow to
the stand-by filter. Open the fill valve and open the stand-by filter vent valve. Allow the filter to fill
with oil and vent any trapped air within the filter housing. Once stand-by filter is filled with oil, close
the fill valve and close filter housing vent valve. The filter transfer valve may now be used to transfer
oil flow to stand-by filter.

CAUTION

Incorrect transfer of oil filter housings can introduce large quantities of air into the
system, which can result in seal failure due to lack of lubrication. Lack of seal oil
will cause hydrogen gas to vent along the shaft resulting in a fire danger. Do not
attempt to transfer the filter until the filter to be placed in service is fully vented.

K. Oil Filter Cartridge Replacement

Change filter cartridges whenever the pressure drop across the filter reaches 6 psi (41.4 kPa) as indi-
cated on the differential pressure gauge, which is mounted on the switch and gauge panel. The filter
differential pressure gauge has an alarm switch set at 8 psid (55.6 kPa). The seal oil flow must be
transferred to the housing with clean filters as soon as possible when the alarm value is reached.

CAUTION

Failure to change filter cartridges when required may lead to high pres- sure drop
across the filter causing low oil flow to the hydrogen seal rings. This can result in
seal failure and fire danger.

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Shaft Sealing System GEK 116742

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GEK 116742 Shaft Sealing System

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