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Technical Study: "Condenser Performance Monitoring during plant in operation"


Condenser performance is highly crucial for efficient operation of the power plant as major share of heat rejection takes place here. Many of the old power plants do not have necessary systems in place for acomprehensive assessment of the condenser performance on a regular basis. The study proposes to carry out unit specific studies at two (2) power stations to identify methodology for on line monitoring of condenser parameters to evaluate its thermal and physical performance in an economical way. Such evaluation would enable them in taking a conscious decision for possible intervention atan  appropriate time.


Studies have shown that major deviations from design/targetsvalues of the heat rate are to a great extent due to under performance of the condenser largely reflected innon- achieving the desired vacuum. For example, about 60 units of 210/500 MW  capacity mapped with Ebsilon softwarehave shown adeviation of the order of 3-5%.  Condenser contribution was about 15% inunit heat rate loss. Some of the reasons for poor performance include blocked tubes, flooding of tubes, excessive air leakage, tube fouling/leakages etc.as a result of both thermal and physical deterioration.

The thermal performance can be best evaluated by regular monitoring of various parameters such as condensate temperature, CW inlet/ outlet temperature , CW flowetc., and analyzing  heat transfer coefficient,terminal temperature difference ,sub coolingetc.  The thermal performance evaluation can be further supplemented through  various parameters such as :

  • Air leakage determination
  • Cooling water side hydraulic loss
  • Assessment of tube cleaning arrangement
  • Electrical conductivity / oxygen content in the condensate
  • Copper content in the cooling water ( for copper alloy materials of condenser tubes)

The study would involve review of various parameters / methods of condenser monitoring, evaluate the trends and make recommendations inregard to measurements, evaluation methods and suggest actions for attaining condenser performance to be with in expected tolerances.


Based on the studyoutline , a detailed Terms Of Reference ( TOR) would be prepared by a subject expert ( say, an  external consultant).Subsequently , Expression of Interest would be invited from consultants ( Individual/ organization) and evaluated for carrying out the detailed study. However, the activity will be guided and  closely monitored by  an expert group with representatives from CEA/NTPC.

Broad scope of work

The scope of work would cover the following:

  • Review of design data/performance guarantee test
  • Study of plant performance w.r.t cooling water system of 2-3 yearsperformance and other historical data
  • Site visit, measurements as required and discussions with plant engineers
  • Performance Evaluation
  • Trend analysis for aperiod of I month
  • Assessment of impact of deviations on condenser/ unit performance
  • Recommendations for sustained improved plant performance
  • Development of guidelines in respect of measurements required,method of analysis , interpretation of results and actions required.


The study would enable to have a comprehensive document about a cost effective approach for existing old plants to regularly monitor the condenser performance and provide guidance for effective intervention. The results would be shared with various utilities for wider adoption.