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How clean is your process compressor?

02/06/2020

Hand on heart, nobody enjoys cleaning. However, most of us will freely admit to preferring a clean and tidy house to a messy one: it’s easier to find your keys, you don’t trip over things and the whole place just functions better!

That said, most houses require a fair amount of effort to maintain, but are much easier to keep in check once a regular cleaning schedule is in place. Some people manage this by having it vaguely in mind that there is bleach in one of the under-sink cupboards, having never seen nor used it. Others have the occasional big spring clean then keep to a regular timetable to tackle each room. Given the choice, I know whose bathroom I would prefer to use.

The principals of an effective house-cleaning timetable are basically the same for your compressor. Regular, scheduled washes interspersed with deeper cleans are the best way to keep your gas turbine performance at its peak. Cleaning in this way is much easier to manage and gives far better results than sporadic washes when the need becomes urgent.   

Why do you need to clean your process compressor?

All that goes into your compressor is air and gas, so it can be hard to imagine how it could possibly get dirty. The problem is that the air inevitably carries tiny impurities such as pollution, salt and sand. Under high heat and pressure these foulants are deposited on your compressor blades and ‘bake’ in place. This in turn interrupts the fine-tuned airflow with a knock-on effect for efficiency.

process compressor cleaning system

Basically, if your process compressor is left dirty you will spend more and more on fuel to run a system that does not give you the output it should. Ultimately, you are likely to face unplanned shutdowns due to system failure.

How to clean your process compressor?

How you keep your house clean (and how clean you keep your house) is not our business. We specialise in all things relating to process compressor washing. Essentially though, the fundamentals are the same: if you use the right products and equipment while following a sensible schedule, you will get great results.

  • Use specialised detergents which target the kind of fouling in your compressor. Diagnostic testing can help with this choice if you are unsure what is causing the grime in your turbine.
  • Use the right equipment to inject cleaning fluid exactly where and when it is needed.
  • Combine regular on-line washes with occasional off-line cleans to keep your compressor impressively clean and working at its peak.

The great news is that you can use the same gas turbine cleaner and equipment for both on and off-line cleans, saving money and administration. 

gas turbine cleaner

Saving money

Compared to a compressor caked in foulants, a clean compressor works more efficiently and an efficient compressor is cheaper to run. In fact, the initial outlay on equipment plus the cost of regular compressor washes is dwarfed by the savings of improved efficiency.

As an added bonus: not only do you boost gas turbine efficiency but you enjoy a more reliable system. Unscheduled shutdowns are far less likely when your compressor is clean and your turbine is performing at its best.

3 Top tips for effective process compressor washing

If Kim and Aggie created the show: ‘How Clean is Your Compressor?’ then this is what they would tell the poor, embarrassed mechanics:

1. Always read the manual

Do not do anything that is not in the OEMs. Check any cleaning hardware or chemicals you want to use get the thumbs up.

2. Don’t forget disposal

Clean up after your cleaning by making sure you carefully document and report waste (if necessary) and are responsible with collection and disposal. Not only is this important for the environment but you could face fines for improper practise.

3. Use pure water

Tap water might look clear but it can have all sorts of impurities dissolved in it. The very best tip for great results is to use pure water for cleaning and rinsing. Deionised or demineralised water is ideal as it won’t introduce further contaminants to the system. 

Getting started

Sorry, we won’t come round to your house and help with your spring clean. However, we can help you set up an effective cleaning system and schedule for your gas turbine compressor.

Getting started can seem daunting but the benefits of an efficient, reliable turbine are well worth it. We can offer guidance at every stage as well as recommend from a range of professional products trusted by customers around the world.

If you have got any questions or would like to find out more about how we can help, get in touch. We promise we will be much kinder about cleanliness than Kim and Aggie!


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