Owens Corning's Fibre Reinforcements Provide Solutions for Flue-Gas Desulfurisation Systems

07 November 2011

Owens Corning’s Advantex glass fibre reinforcements have been used to provide superior performance in FRP solutions for flue-gas desulfurisation systems.

Owens Corning (OC) say that recent publicity about premature degradation of steel used in flue-gas desulfurisation systems in coal-burning power plants has highlighted concerns about replacement costs and potential shutdowns due to corrosion. They say that this summer, a regional newspaper reported that areas of a tank vessel in a steel pollution scrubber were corroded through the structure’s walls just one year after installation.

"Replacing materials like steel and alloys with fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) made with Advantex glass fibre reinforcements is a solution to this problem," said Matt Lieser, OC Global Specification Marketing Leader. "Repairs can cost millions of dollars and there is a risk of plant shutdowns, both of which can have a negative impact on their customers."

According to OC, coal-burning power plants have installed scrubbers to help reduce pollution by catching sulphur dioxide (SO2) which is easily oxidized into sulphuric acid when oxygen and water are present. They say nitrogen oxide (NOx) is commonly present in combustible processes and is a catalyst for the reaction that causes acid rain. OC explain that they have carried out testing on standard E-glass and Advantex composite laminates under stress in a 10-percent sulphuric acid environment and found that the Advantex composite laminate offers a useful stress performance of up to 12 times greater than the E-glass construction.

The coal power industry is installing FRP chimney liners because the expected service life is significantly higher than other materials with less required maintenance. Lieser said, "We may see that number grow with the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) taking effect Jan.1, 2012, and other rules requiring significant reductions in sulphur dioxide emissions."

OC say that Advantex glass fibre reinforcements used in FRP components also offer superior corrosion resistance versus standard E-glass. They say other benefits include lighter weight and design flexibility in applications like FRP tanks, ducting, piping and chimney liners exposed to sulphur dioxide from the exhaust of flue gasses at fossil-fuel power plants.

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