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Advanced CCGT plant relies on efficient pumps

THE EDF Energy combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) 605 MW power plant in Bouchain, France is one of the most energy-efficient in the world. EDF has achieved an overall efficiency level of 62.22% by partnering with major technology providers, including a global provider of pumping solutions.

The Bouchain plant is playing an important role in France’s energy transition by replacing an aged coal-fired power plant while providing a reliable and flexible source of power. The plant can ramp up its output from zero to full power in only 30 minutes, and as demand drops, its turbines can reduce their output by up to 40%, while still complying with stringent emissions’ regulations. 

To achieve such high levels of performance, EDF has partnered with major technology providers from across the world to design and build the power plant, which uses a host of advanced technologies. One of those partners was Sulzer, a global provider of pumping solutions.

CCGT plants like Bouchain operate pairs of turbines that work together. Combustion of natural gas spins the gas turbine, which drives the generator. The hot exhaust gases are used to create high pressure steam that powers the steam turbine, which is also connected to the generator. The exhaust steam is then condensed and cooled ready for re-use.

System design  

Sulzer was contracted to deliver the design and manufacture of the pump installation for the condenser that forms an integral part of the steam recovery process. Two large vertical pumps circulate cold water between the condenser and the plant’s cooling towers, moving around 32,000 m3/h when the plant is operating at full load.

Sulzer’s collaboration with EDF began during the concept and design phase of the project. 

The pumps selected for the Bouchain plant are two of Sulzer’s latest generation of high-efficiency vertical circulation water pumps which have a proven design that was optimised to perfectly suit the technical requirements of the installation. Each pump draws approximately 1.3 MW of power, and in normal operation they run in parallel to supply the required cooling capacity. Two 50% capacity pumps were installed to improve the resilience of the cooling system. If one pump has to be taken out of service for maintenance, the power plant can continue to operate until the pump is back in service.

EDF’s specifications for the pumps included the installation of extensive instrumentation and data collection equipment to monitor temperatures and vibration levels in the pump bearings and other key components during operation. 

Optimal performance

Sulzer’s involvement with the Bouchain project goes on to this day, four years after the successful commissioning of the cooling system. The company continues to monitor the performance of the pumps in service and works closely with EDF’s operations and maintenance teams at the site to ensure optimal performance and advise on the most appropriate maintenance strategies for these important items of equipment.

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