What appears to be a simple question is often quite difficult to answer depending on the quantity of flow; and size, type, and location of piping. Even the reason for asking the question can be varied and complex — ranging from environmental regulation, investment decisions, aging infrastructure improvement planning, and new equipment evaluation. Absolute field performance testing of power plant equipment yields valuable data that can be used in a variety of ways.

National and International codes list several methods to measure water flow in a performance application and provide realistic uncertainty estimates. Codes and standards exist for equipment evaluation and contractual performance tests. These Codes, though, are sometimes viewed as costly or perceived to impose additional risk on suppliers. Herein, we will present how to obtain performance test data and how that data can be used.

In many rehabilitation or regulation driven projects, an accurate representation of the state of the existing power plant is desired. Pump curves typically do not represent an accurate depiction of flow due to equipment degradation, changes in system components/geometry, and/or bio-fouling. While the testing may be considered costly, it can often be justified as part of a rehabilitation project. Absolute testing provides a lower uncertainty that can yield more definitive estimates of return on investment to justify projects that might be otherwise considered marginal.

Case studies will be discussed that illustrate these points, including:

• Flow measurement feasibility and site testing at a nuclear thermal plant

• In-situ flow testing to calibrate existing ultrasonic flow meters at a biomass thermal plant

• Condenser performance testing at a nuclear thermal plant

Paper published with permission.

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