Condenser Refurbishment Projects (Re-tube / Re-bundle) focus on a tube for tube replacement with or without tube sheet replacements or a modular tube bundle replacement. These projects are large capital investments for the owner and most of the time the justification and planning efforts are focused on extending the operating life of the power plant with the goal of a 3 to 5 year return on investment. The project planning focus is typically on addressing the immediate needs of rapid return of the unit to service, copper removal, condenser performance improvement (new material selection), and or adding additional steam condensing capacity to support a plant uprate.
This paper addresses issues that are typically overlooked in the initial planning and budgeting for condenser refurbishment projects that can impact condenser performance, reliability, component maintainability, and schedule.
As with all aging equipment a detailed assessment of a condenser’s condition should be performed to evaluate not only the tubes and tube sheets, but also the general conditions of support plates, shell, penetrations, spargers (Figure12), dump valves, high energy drains, thermal sleeves (Figure 1 and Figure 2), extraction steam bellows, impingement shields, and the non condensable off gas system to name a few. Also discussed are examples of problems encountered during some refurbishment projects and the implemented solutions.