Improving Electricity Flow with a Fluid Sensor

Globally, thousands of gas-fired turbine generators, with outputs ranging between 1 – 12,000 kW, work to provide industries and businesses with the electricity flow they need. As these generators are run independently, their efficiency and ROI is closely monitored. The loss of power from reduced efficiencies (of up to 12%) during summer, a period of peak demand, is causing operators to look for new solutions.

The root of the issue is simple: when the weather is hot, gas turbines have a reduced power output. The solution is also simple: the air entering the turbine should be cooled, and this is most frequently achieved using water evaporation.

Turbine Generators and Evaporation Systems

Water evaporation can be carried out using two methods. The air is either passed over a water-soaked medium, or the air is passed through a pressurized water mister, which fires atomized water droplets through the air. Water misting is the preferred method as it gives operators more control.

Gem Sensor’s big customer – who, for privacy reasons, will henceforth be referred to as ‘TurboGen Corp.’ - produce turbine generators and evaporation systems which use water misting technology. The misting systems from TurboGen Corp. allow turbines to run at peak efficiency, regardless of the season.

The water misting system developed by TurboGen Corp. requires pressurized water to function, as this ensures that water droplets are of a small enough size to be vaporized prior to misting. It was these requirements that motivated TurboGen Corp. to contact Gems Sensors for a high-pressure sensing solution.

TurboGen Corp.’s misters use a water hammer to generate more than 2,300 PSI, which means they needed an extremely robust sensor. Gem Sensor’s Psibar® 1200 Series CVD pressure transducer was an appropriate choice, as it boasts an extremely thick stainless-steel diaphragm that is resistant to failure or deformation. Sensors in the 1200 Series can function at more than 4 times the maximum measured pressure, and can also absorb the pressure spikes from the water hammer and pump ripple.

Psibar® 1200 Series

The Psibar® 1200 Series is robust and provides a high accuracy of 0.5% as it is produced via chemical vapor deposition (CVD). CVD involves depositing silicon at a low temperature onto the steel gauge beam, where it forms a thin film layer that fits tightly onto the round shape of the beam. This atomic bonding method is the main reason for the sensor’s excellent stability and performance.

Stability was a priority for TurboGen Corp. as -like in any industrial application - predictable sensor performance is vital. The Series 1200 is highly stable, exhibiting a 0.2% full-scale long-term drift per year. The highly stable nature of the sensor allows it to be used alongside the similarly robust diaphragm – a powerful yet sensitive combination.

TurboGen Corp. trialed the Gems Psibar® sensor over the course of a year and concluded that it worked perfectly and was to be used in their subsequent developments.

Other specifications of the Psibar® 1200 Series used for this application include:

  • Pressure port - 1/4"-18 NPT
  • UL Listing and CE Approval
  • NEMA 4 Cable (3 m) for electrical connection

Other features of the sensor include:

  • Wetted-parts and cases produced from stainless steel
  • Strain gauge produced through laser welding
  • Accurate thermal compensation using custom ASIC
  • RFI/EMI & ESD protection circuitry

Custom Sensors

Gems Sensors & Controls provide a vast range of sensors, many of which can be shipped immediately. In addition to their off the shelf solutions, Gems can also provide custom sensors to suit OEM and design engineering applications.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Gems Sensors and Controls.

For more information on this source, please visit Gems Sensors and Controls.

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