The Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) systemization team is testing the plant’s compressed air system, which will perform three main functions while the plant is in operations.
“This system is responsible for providing pressurized air for instrumentation, plant air and the Life Support System (LSS),” said Paul Baldwin, utility lead mechanical engineer, BGCAPP. “The most critical of these is the LSS, but each of these systems is crucial to plant function.”
The systemization team is making the final checks of the system to ensure it is ready for operations. This includes checking pressures, taking a compressor out of the circuit to make sure the next one picks up the load and ensuring that the compressors operate to provide adequate pressure as designed to support the various plant systems.
The air system comprises three compressors, air filters, dryers and storage tanks, said Baldwin. Two compressors are capable of delivering pressurized, oil-free air dried to a specific dew point for operating plant instrumentation and plant air systems such as valves, air-actuated controllers, sump pumps and pneumatically operated door-openers. The air system also provides personal protective suit air required during toxic-area entries, via the LSS. The third compressor is maintained in a stand-by mode to pick up the load while one of the other compressors is down for maintenance.
“It’s important to fully test and demonstrate the compressed-air system,” said Michael Kester, start-up specialist, AECOM. “The purpose of systemization testing is to validate the system operates and performs as designed. We need to confirm that the system performs exactly as expected through various scenarios. This includes demonstrating the system’s standard operating procedures can be performed as written.”
Normal operating pressure for the system will be about 125 pounds per square inch, said Kester. Different equipment will have differing pressurization needs, so the pressure will be stepped down as applicable.