European Technology Development Limited [ETD] orchestrated and conducted an historic virtual conference in late 2020 covering high-temperature plant materials, inspection, monitoring, and assessment [MIMA]. Power generation industry publication the Combined Cycle Journal has since published the agenda of the conference, which drew attendees from 22 different countries.
ETD Consulting - based in Leatherhead, Surrey - specialises in providing consultancy and training services to the oil and gas industry, and is a sector leader in root-cause failure analysis, finite element and probabilistic analysis, weld analysis, materials evaluations, repair/replacement analysis, and more.
The conference, which was held over October 27 and 28, 2020, was introduced by Dr Ahmed Shibli, managing director of ETD Consulting.
Dr Shibli said in his introductory speech: “Although in the past ETD has organised many conferences and training courses throughout the world, this is a unique experience for us.
“Due to Covid-19, such exchange has become prohibitive during 2020 resulting in cancellations of many international conferences, thus limiting access to and exchange of knowledge, data, and discussions on many new and exciting developments.
“This conference is meant for materials and systems developers, plant designers, fabricators, owner/operators, and service providers, as well as researchers and inspection companies.”
The conference was arranged into six sessions. The first of the sessions covered materials, including MarBN steels for high-temperature applications.
Opening the session, Dr Shibli commented: “I would like to especially thank my Japanese colleagues who persuaded ETD to organise this conference. They said no high-temperature plant or materials event has taken place this year in Japan and perhaps ETD could bring together an international community working in this area.”
At the beginning of 2020, the UK government and industry started a three-year study of MarBN steels, in a project named 'Implant,' with coordination by ETD. The general goal of the study is to develop higher-efficiency, less polluting powerplants for the future.
The second session then focused on compiling information on material inspection methods, examining new and innovative techniques. The session that followed then focused on plant material failures, plus operating flexibility, and efficiency.
Session four then looked at weldments and monitoring, with the fifth session then exploring key issues such as material degradation, damage, and life assessment of powerplants.
During this stage of the conference, Dr Shibli homed in on cost and performance analysis when operating in both base and cycling modes, exploring methods such as performance benchmarking, top-down and bottom-up cost analysis, and the negative impacts of cycling on both performance and cost.
Presenting a detailed and comprehensive case study, Dr Shibli explained: “Recently a utility with 11 combined cycles located in North America was looking for an increase in profitability. The head office approached ETD to assess the maintenance strategy for each of its 11 plants.”
He then went on to identify several common data-collection challenges for accurate unit-specific cycling cost analysis, which included overall plant design, operational history, the design of individual major components [including material, thickness, and other factors], water-chemistry quality and procedures, the size and age of the plant, and previous maintenance carried out.
Dr Shibli then presented a methodology matrix for cycling impact assessments, saying: “Estimates of per-start costs use elements of a bottom-up approach, namely engineering and risk assessment to identify plant-specific critical components. Statistical analysis is used to estimate the impact of an increased number of starts on performance, reliability, and non-recurring maintenance and capital replacement costs—thus providing the current and projected per-start cost range of cycling for a defined period and operating environment.”
He added that results help to understand “how costs can be reduced by making plant design and operating changes to reduce component damage.”
The sixth session then covered risk-based inspection [RBI], reliability-centred maintenance [RCM], and stress analysis. During this part of the conference, various presenters concentrated on risk-based investigation methods and stress analysis, which included finite-element [FE] analysis of stress fields in steam pipeline components, from the School of Mechanical and Design Engineering at the University of Portsmouth, UK.
To conclude the conference, pre-recorded presentations on risk-based monitoring [RBM], cracking, and modelling were integrated into the meeting, chaired by Dr Shibli, and three other leading figures from ETD, including leading metallurgist Dr David Robertson, Feroza Akther and Dr David Allen, as well as Stuart Holdsworth from the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology.
Following the presentations, there was a one-hour discussion session where all participants were able to get involved, in order to engage with other attendees and ask questions.
The success of the two-day virtual conference saw ETD organise a further three online events in the early part of this year, which included a two-day Boiler Life Assessment Training Course, a three-day event focused on high-temperature defect assessment, and a four-day course on gas turbines.
The full conference highlights as reported by the Combined Cycle Journal can be found here. Those seeking further information can contact Dr Shibli and the team of experts at ETD via email@example.com.