One of the main challenges associated with the operation and maintenance of binary geothermal power plants is the degradation of construction materials. In this sense, it is crucial to apply appropriate preventive maintenance in critical components (such as the wellheads, heat exchangers, or pipes), while reducing shutdown times. Based on electrochemical measurements performed in an autoclave corrosion testing setup, we studied the corrosion mechanism of API L80 steel grade as a function of operational and/or maintenance procedures. We used a test fluid representative for a site in Switzerland, but the main observations made may be applicable in a wider context. We found that changes in the fluid temperature (from 200 to 100 °C) or temporary oxygen ingress significantly influenced the corrosion behavior of this carbon steel and increased its corrosion rate (from approx. 20 µm/year to > 120 µm/year). After a few days, the corrosion rate was found to decrease and stabilize around values of 50–70 µm/year, as a result of a porous corrosion product layer formed on the metal surface (approx. 250 µm thick). Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy indicated an increase in capacitance of the double layer over time, most likely due to an increase in the effective surface area of the steel sample, as a consequence of surface roughening due to corrosion. The results from this study may be implemented in the design and operation of future power plants in Switzerland and elsewhere to ensure reliable and cost-effective energy production from geothermal resources.

Laboratory tests simulating corrosion in geothermal power plants: influence of service conditions

Bernhard Elsener
Ultimo
Supervision
2020-01-01

Abstract

One of the main challenges associated with the operation and maintenance of binary geothermal power plants is the degradation of construction materials. In this sense, it is crucial to apply appropriate preventive maintenance in critical components (such as the wellheads, heat exchangers, or pipes), while reducing shutdown times. Based on electrochemical measurements performed in an autoclave corrosion testing setup, we studied the corrosion mechanism of API L80 steel grade as a function of operational and/or maintenance procedures. We used a test fluid representative for a site in Switzerland, but the main observations made may be applicable in a wider context. We found that changes in the fluid temperature (from 200 to 100 °C) or temporary oxygen ingress significantly influenced the corrosion behavior of this carbon steel and increased its corrosion rate (from approx. 20 µm/year to > 120 µm/year). After a few days, the corrosion rate was found to decrease and stabilize around values of 50–70 µm/year, as a result of a porous corrosion product layer formed on the metal surface (approx. 250 µm thick). Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy indicated an increase in capacitance of the double layer over time, most likely due to an increase in the effective surface area of the steel sample, as a consequence of surface roughening due to corrosion. The results from this study may be implemented in the design and operation of future power plants in Switzerland and elsewhere to ensure reliable and cost-effective energy production from geothermal resources.
2020
geothermal, energy, corrosion rate, power plant, impedance; Geothermal installations; Operational issues; Oxygen; Fluid temperature
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/285389
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