HOBAS Pipes Do a Power of Good Scroll Down to learn about HOBAS CC-GRP Pipes Transporting Cooling Water at a Combined Cycle Power Plant in Bouchain, FR

After 45 years in operation, the coal-fired power generating station of Bouchain, located in France’s northernmost region Nord-Pas-de-Calais, has been replaced by a combined cycle power plant (CCPP). This project is part of the modernization plan of all fossil-fired power plants of the French company EDF (Electricité De France). EDF is the world’s largest energy producer, operating a diverse portfolio with more than 120,000 MW of generation capacity in Europe, South and North America, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. The sophisticated cooling system of the new CCPP has been realized with HOBAS CC-GRP Pipes.

The CCPP Bouchain operates on the basis of an efficient combination of two turbines: A gas turbine generates electricity and the waste heat is used to produce steam, which in turn generates additional electricity via a steam turbine. This way, about 50 % more power is produced from the same fuel compared to a traditional simple cycle plant. The turbines are equipped with a cooling system, which connects the condenser to the cooling tower in a closed cycle. This system allows the removal of the heat produced in the turbines by natural gas combustion.

For the realization of this huge project, EDF wanted to work with top-quality contractors and products. HOBAS France provided a detailed design and feasibility study for the implementation of the sophisticated cooling system with HOBAS Products, including production and installation assistance on site. Thanks to their high chemical resistance, corrosion and abrasion resistance, light weight and easy handling, long lifetime, as well as the possibility to produce tailor-made fittings, HOBAS Products met the high demands of EDF and represented and ideal solution for this application.

The sophisticated cooling system of the new Combined Cycle Power Plant Bouchain has been realized with HOBAS CC-GRP Pipes.

At the beginning of 2014, 700 meters of HOBAS GRP Pipes DN 1400 and DN 2200, 11 bends DN 2200, 9 tees, and a custom-made Y 2200/1400 mm were delivered to the new CCPP in Bouchain. Since the pipeline installation was part of a bigger project, the schedule had to be strictly observed – penalties for delays would have been very expensive. The logistics on site were also very challenging: The construction area was strictly guarded, and deliveries could only be made at fixed times.

The pipeline was laid in open trench under the constant supervision of HOBAS Engineers. Due to the rather mediocre soil conditions on site, the cooling loop had to present a longitudinal flexibility at some key points. The use of short pipes and the admissible angular deflection of the HOBAS FW Coupling enabled the necessary flexibility and helped avoid high stresses.

Thanks to their high chemical resistance, light weight, long lifetime, plus the possibility for tailor-made fittings...
...HOBAS Products meet the high demands of EDF and represent and ideal solution for this application.

Some laminating also had to be realized on site. Four lamination experts from HOBAS Germany were entrusted with this since they have the necessary skills, safety know-how, and equipment to work in confined spaces. They did an excellent job in building laminates with a very high load capacity, which also passed the final pressure test with flying colors.

After the successful completion of the project in August 2015, the Bouchain CCPP ranks among the most efficient power plant systems in the world. It avoids more than 50 % of CO2 emissions in comparison to a coal-fired power plant and it features 2/3 less nitrogen oxide emissions and no sulphur oxide emissions. Its capacity of 510 megawatts equals the energy consumption of 600,000 houses. And the efforts of HOBAS France also paid off in further respects: The organization obtained a special certification by EDF, which authorizes it to be one of EDF’s suppliers and entitles HOBAS Engineers to bring in their expertise at EDF’s plants.

Among others, eleven bends DN 2200 were supplied to the new CCPP Bouchain.

Laurent Hesters, application engineer at HOBAS France, accompanied the project in Bouchain from the start to the end. We asked him for some first-hand information in the following interview.

What makes HOBAS a particularly good partner in industrial projects such as Bouchain?

Laurent Hesters: First of all, HOBAS Pipelines are flexible and the products can be custom-tailored to the given project requirements. In Bouchain for example, we had bends with various angles that were equipped with rings to be installed vertically, blind flanges equipped with a small flange for air removal, and other special solutions. The installation of our products, which were supplied in a large diameter range, was easy compared to other pipes materials: No welding was necessary, an angular deflection in our coupling is possible, our pipes and fittings are low weight, and modifications to adjust the pipeline could be made directly on site. At HOBAS we can control and modify the choice of resin and the design of our pipes and fittings to achieve the required resistance against chemicals and increased temperatures for a given industrial application. Also, thanks to the low thermal expansion of the GRP pipe in combination with our EPDM gasket, the pipeline design is facilitated and additional costly compensators avoided. And finally, HOBAS offers more than just a product: We provide a comprehensive package including the design, dimensioning, and testing of our pipes, as well as installation and after-sales support.

What attracted HOBAS France to quote for this project?

L. Hesters: HOBAS France wanted to seize the opportunity of building a strong long-term partnership with a global industrial customer. It has also been an honorable challenge and premiere for HOBAS France – this is the first GRP pipe system used for cooling purposes by EDF.

"At HOBAS, we can control and modify the choice of resin and the design of our pipes and fittings to achieve the required resistance against chemicals and increased temperatures for a given industrial application." (Laurent Hesters, HOBAS France)

What do you think made HOBAS France win the contract?

L. Hesters: We provided a detailed design and feasibility study based on our products at the earliest stage of the project, understood the client’s needs, and offered an attractive support package. GRP pipes also excelled other materials in terms of their mechanical and laying flexibility, low roughness, and corrosion resistance.

How did HOBAS succeed in handling and managing a project of this size?

L. Hesters: This was possible thanks to the experience, professional dedication and cooperation of different HOBAS Departments in different project stages: the management, sales team, TechCenter, technical departments, logistic departments, production departments and quality departments. Each link of the chain did a great job, and I am proud to have had the chance to work and exchange with each of them during this challenging project.

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Jessica Maier
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