Intelligent valve actuators

Jon Lawson

Mike Dale reports on how the latest generation of electric actuators is supporting 

RWE Aberthaw Power Station in South Wales is now one of the most efficient coal-fired power stations in the UK, through the use of automation that includes Rotork valve actuation.

Aberthaw can generate around 1,555MW of electricity for the National Grid System, which is enough power to meet the needs of some three million households.

Following the introduction of flue gas desulphurisation (FGD), which has reduced sulphur emissions by up to 95%, the latest stage of Aberthaw’s multi-million pound investment for the improvement of environmental performance involves the installation of Lo NOx technology, in line with the latest Industrial Emissions Directive. Aberthaw is the first UK coal-fired station to adopt the Lo NOx technology, which will extend its future operational life.

The system is designed to maximise NOx reduction efficiency and minimise the impact on combustion performance and operation. The new Lo NOx system installed on one of Aberthaw’s 535MW generating sets includes 120 Rotork IQ and IQT multi-turn and part-turn intelligent electric actuators to control the operation of valves and dampers.

A trusted technology

The decision to specify these actuators for the application by the RWE engineering staff at Aberthaw was influenced by the long history of reliability demonstrated by the Rotork actuators previously installed on site, which account for over 90% of the site’s total quantity of valve actuation assets.

Up to the challenge

These double-sealed and non-intrusive actuators are designed to withstand challenging operating environments such as those often encountered in the power generation industry, requiring minimum maintenance. In addition, IQ intelligent actuation technology incorporates comprehensive datalogging abilities, enabling operating data to be downloaded and diagnosed for the optimisation of preventative maintenance and asset management.

Successful installation

The Aberthaw Lo NOx system manufacturedby Foster Wheeler was installed by Doosan and commissioned at the end of 2015. Rotork Site Services performed the actuator commissioning in a contract with the electrical sub-contractor J W Morris. l 

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Mike Dale is with Rotork UK

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