Blog13 December 2021

Power stations and their continual reliance on submersible pumps

As highly experienced suppliers to the power generation sector, Sykes Pumps draws on a wealth of knowledge that allows us to devise the best solutions to a wide range of everyday pumping applications.

Whether our clients require assistance during a shutdown or maintenance period, a temporary fire system or a sump pumping configuration, our expansive electric and hydraulic submersible hire fleet ensures you are taken care of in every situation.

Our engineers are familiar with the many challenges power stations face daily, and the importance of adhering to strict security guidelines and health and safety compliance. As such, we are comfortable with operating within uncompromising parameters and delivering practical solutions tailored to the unique circumstances of our clients.

For example, power stations have been using Sykes submersible pumps as drain down units on the main cooling tower systems. Our pumps draw water from the sea, which then cools steam produced on site as part of the electricity generation process.

Elsewhere, our submersible pumps have been deployed on various duties as part of both planned and emergency outages. These situations incorporate all types of water systems, ranging from damaged drains causing a build-up of surface water on site to dedicated standby pumps being positioned in response to potential flooding threats.

Standby pumps and other solutions of this nature are generally connected to an external power source. Main cooling water pumps can also be operated via a generator, providing cover at all times in the event that the mains power source is unavailable.

While standalone temporary pump hires are common, it is also not unusual for replacement units to be required if permanently installed units falter unexpectedly. When this occurs, our small submersibles are often used as an immediate stopgap and allow the plant manager to get the damaged units repaired or replaced.

Other applications in which our small submersible units are frequently used include flooded trenches caused by tanks overflowing, or for storage tanks that require draining. Most power stations in the UK have ten or more water tanks on site – each with capacities of 250,000 gallons – with our P1001, P2001 and P3001 pumps regularly deployed for this type of task.

Despite many power stations now adopting auto-detection systems that reveal the presence of barnacles, these fouling organisms continue to cause problems. By clinging to the inside of pipes and the surfaces of steam condensers, they restrict the flow of sea water required for essential cooling. They can also cause erosion to both pipework and condensers which can cost tens of thousands of pounds to repair.

To prevent this, Sykes’ PX12 submersibles are used to pump dosing water through the system which effectively cleanses the pipes. Power stations sometimes dose with a tiny concentration of sodium hypochlorite – enough to prevent barnacles sticking without causing issues to any other aspect of the process. The dosing is undertaken at the intake where the sea water enters, via a sparger ring, with the chemicals causing the barnacles to close up, dislodge and pass through the station’s wash water system.

At Sykes Pumps, we have a demonstrable track record of devising and implementing pump hire packages that have been specifically tailored to suit a power station’s extensive range of requirements.

Our submersible pumps ensure that proficient solutions can be quickly implemented regardless of the application, with instant response times guaranteed should urgent intervention be necessary.

In addition to our industry leading submersibles, we also offer a full range of diesel pumps that have been widely deployed in the power generation sector.

To book a free site survey or discuss an upcoming project with one of our experts, call us today on 0800 211 611.