Unplanned outages in waste to energy plants

Unplanned outages in waste to energy plants are a serious problem resulting in reduced throughput, loss of income or even fines. In addition to cost, unplanned outages cause significant issues with out of hours call outs, disrupted work schedules and unbudgeted costs.

Unplanned outages can happen for all sorts of reasons; one common cause is when all the temperature sensors in the incinerator are damaged in quick succession due to the thermowells, that are there to protect the sensors, failing.

Shutdowns can cause damage to plant, meaning that components will need replacing before the system can be restarted, or increase wear on components leading to reduced life expectancy. Damage to plant and increased wear on components increases the number of weak points in the system and increases the likelihood of shutdown in the future.

In some facilities in the Waste To Energy industry the plant is built to a budget that doesn’t allow for consumables of a high enough specification to enable smooth running, especially within the warranty period. Once the plant is beyond the warranty period (ie post- warranty) it would allow for an upgrade to higher spec thermowells.

Thermowells may be regarded as a low-cost consumable on the original plant budget but can increase risk of plant downtime later. The cost difference comparing OEM-supplied thermowells and those specified to effectively protect the temperature instrumentation effectively is insignificant compared to the costs of shutdowns and unplanned outages.

The common causes of thermowells failing are mechanical, corrosion, erosion and vibration fatigue. Thermowells can be manufactured in a range of specialist materials and profiles in order to cope with the demanding and unpredictable environments in incinerators.

bkw damaged thermowell waste to energy
bkw damaged thermowell tip waste to energy

Reduction in unplanned outages in waste to energy plants

We have two case studies available, outlining Waste to Energy plants that have upgraded their thermowells and enjoyed significant improvements in life expectancy and plant availability.

Click on the links below to read:

Case Study 1

Case Study 2

Use the contact form below to get in touch. Please give us some basic information about the temperature of your incinerator and the general nature of the waste being processed and we will provide a recommendation and cost for thermowells that would be suitable for your plant.