power plants

The stainless steel purchases made for coal fired power plants

Fifteen coal-fired plant operators will spend $75 billion/yr for flow & treat products along with related services in 2018 (1). An estimated one percent or $750 million will be spent on stainless steel materials. The top five operators will purchase over 36% of the total $153 billion/yr. The products included are those used to treat or control any gas, air, or liquid. Written by Robert Mcilvaine, President, The Mcilvaine Company.
 
Where expenditures are made 
The number four purchaser, NTPC (formerly National Thermal Power Corporation Limited), and the number eight purchaser, Vietnam Power, will be purchasing mostly for new facilities. Those utilities in China and Africa will have a mix of purchases for new and existing facilities whereas the operators in the U.S. and Europe will be spending mostly on repair and upgrades. 

The largest expenditures will be made for cooling, heat exchange and combustion. A number of Asian utilities are building ultrasupercritical coal plants with liberal use of alloys such as T23 for boiler super-heater, reheater tubes and water wall panels. The air pollution control investment will be more than $36 billion/yr in a large part due to the demand in Asia. There is a very large potential to completely automate coal-fired boiler operations. The advantages are not only decreased labor costs, but much higher efficiency while at the same time meeting environmental goals. The relatively fast adoption of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Remote O&M will radically change the marketing environment. 

Effect of IIoT 
The rapid growth of IIoT at these power plants will result in the use of more stainless steel materials where they provide the lowest total cost of ownership. One example would be tanks for liquids, which are typically constructed from heavier non-stainless steel materials. Sensors measuring corrosion rates on each liquid tank combined with data analytics which demonstrate the lower initial cost of lighter stainless construction will provide hard data on the competitive advantages of stainless. 
Suppliers of the basic stainless materials will have a unique new route directly to the end-user. They can better convince them to use the best stainless materials. They will also have the research data to enable them to offer better stainless products for individual applications. 

The beneficial use of this mountain of data will require new tools. A new report (2) outlines a program to empower IIoT with The Industrial Internet of Wisdom (IIoW). Decisions about the use of stainless steel in various coal fired power plant components are pursued in a decision guide (3). In general, stainless products offer longer life but higher initial cost. It is easier to choose the low cost alternative than to make the effort to make a total life cycle cost analysis. In the IIoT world this extra effort will be unnecessary. 

Suppliers can focus on just 15 companies to pursue a $750/yr stainless steel materials market. Success with these companies will lead to more opportunities in the $1.5 billion/yr market for all coal red power plants. 

References 
(1) Utility Upgrade Tracking System published by the Mcilvaine Company‚Ä®
(2) IIoT and Remote O&M published by the Mcilvaine Company 
(3) Coal Fired Power Plant Decisions published by the Mcilvaine Company 

 

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