Updated on May 17th, 2019
A power plant is an industrial facility that works to generate electrical power. The power plant operates on different resources and different machinery to generate electricity. These resources can be fossil fuels, nuclear energy, solar energy, wind energy, wave or hydroelectric resources. Working on each plant would differ based on the type of resource it uses.
The recent ‘go to’ solution concerning power plants are the engine-based power plants. In these power plants, the power is generated through a combination of a reciprocating engine and an alternator. The power generated is relatively quick. It involves complex working but is the best option for emergency reserves.
The operations of an engine based power plant are very complex, and they require a lot of work in generating electrical power. Labor needs to be skilled and well trained. Let us take a look at the basic operations of an engine based power plants.
Operation Of An Engine-based Power Plant
1. Combust Engine
The basic functioning of the combustion engine involves facilitating the expansion of hot gases to push a piston in a cylinder. That converts the liners movement of a piston into a rotating motion. It will be a rotating movement of a crankshaft to generate power. These are evolvement from steam engines that were driven by externally generated steam, in combusting engine, it is generated within the cylinder.
An alternator can be termed as an electrical generator that converts the mechanical energy to electrical energy. The power generated from an alternator can be increased a lot by adding a supercharger. The process would supply a more substantial amount of compressed air to the engine, which, in turn, means more power is generated. The output of electricity is decided by the end medium that needs it.
3. Heat Exchanger
A heat exchanger is a tool that is used to transfer heat between two or more fluids. They are utilized in both cooling as well as heating processes. At an engine based power plant, the heat exchanger works as a part of an internal combustion engine. The circulating fluid which is engine coolant will flow via radiator coils, and also the air flows past them. This will cool the engine coolant and even heat the incoming air.
Maintenance Of An Engine-based Power Plant
1. Diligent Cleaning
A power plant uses a lot of big and small machinery to generate electricity. An engine based power plant requires even more care because of the use of a reciprocating engine. The working of the engine is extremely complex, and it needs to be tended to with diligence.
2. Timely Inspection
All the machinery needs to be timely inspected. The engine and ancillary involved are critical and colossal machinery. Whether they are working correctly, whether there is any defect or breakage needs to be checked in a timely and consistent manner. This will avoid any emergencies which are frequent on power plants.
3. Skilled Labor
The engine involved is pretty much automated, but the process is very complicated when done manually. So any worker appointed has to be qualified and very well versed with what’s happening. This needs to be effectively handled by training the labor appointed in the best possible manner without any slack. Professionals should teach them.
4. Appropriate Training
There should be adequate training involved in matters of safety. Power plants are very accident prone facilities. A slight oversight can cause irreplaceable damage. So all the safety measures should be timely repeated, and their importance should be advised to the people working by taking training at periodic intervals.
5. Good Quality Valves
There are numerable valves used in the power plant, and they ensure that the work is getting done smoothly. It is imperative that the valves and other machinery are chosen is of impeccable quality. They should be bought from reliable resources which are legacy companies. One of the good sources for valves is xhval.com. When the choice is made smartly, it reduces the chances of defects happening which is suitable for everyone involved.
6. Routine Daily Checks
The engine based power plant should have some necessary daily tests which should be done by the labors involved at stipulated times involved. These checks involved, checking air passages, temperatures, the progress of the engine. They should all be as expected. The local meters, drain points or vibrations should be standard. Anything abnormal should be immediately raised.
7. Spark Plugs
Spark plugs might seem like a small thing, but it involves a lot of danger. All the spark plugs must be checked and replaced with new ones after some time. Replacement is crucial because they can cause an engine to break working in the middle. This should be a part of the maintenance check at engine based power plant.
8. Yoke Valve Clearance
This process should also be a part of an engine based power plants basic maintenance check. The yoke has chances of blockage and should be checked promptly. Similarly, a valve clearance can require adjustment. This should be done whenever required. Both these form an internal part of the engine working and should be given time check.
When the inspections are done for maintenance, there can be issues that are raised. Whenever the machines used need to be replaced as per the investigation, that should be done with immediate effect. Inventory of good should be maintained which should the advice of any replacement that is due.
It is amply clear that an engine based power plant works at a very complex level. The working of a power plant is interdependent, and all the aspects should be very carefully considered when the operations and maintenance are being discussed. More complex the functioning, higher are the safety measures that should be taken. This article has covered the necessary maintenance checks required for the engine based power plants. Hope this helps to create a safety routine that benefits the labors and the industrial facilities involved at large.