Scale-inhibition program boosts output for Philippine geothermal energy producer EDC
EDC Geothermal plant in Philippines
- Nalco Water, Ecolab’s water and process management business, implemented a scale-inhibition program, combining chemistry with digital modelling for customer Energy Development Corporation (EDC) in the Philippines — the world’s largest vertically integrated geothermal company.
- Within four months, the program decreased silica and iron sulfide build-up by 70%, reducing downtime, chemistry use, and mechanical pipeline cleaning to generate — maintenance savings and a 40% output increase.
PHILIPPINES — Energy Development Corporation (EDC), the world’s largest vertically integrated geothermal company, has saved in maintenance and significantly increased the output of renewable energy at one of its plants in the Philippines through a scale-inhibition program from Nalco Water.
At this site, water heated deep underground by the earth’s molten core is transported via pipes to the surface, where the steam is used to generate electricity. When EDC began noticing declines in the flowrate through these pipes, the company discovered that build-ups of silica and iron sulfide were inhibiting overall efficiency of the system.
Nalco Water helped combat the problem using its Geomizer™ Modeling Software, a geothermal scale modeling tool, to create laboratory simulations predicting the plant’s risk of scale and corrosion. At the same time, the water and process management specialist leveraged its patented Silica Inhibitor Program to reduce the silica build-up as well as dispersing and controlling the iron sulfide.
Prior to harnessing this solution, EDC would take the pipes offline for servicing and replace the power capacity from alternative sources to ensure supply was not disrupted. This used to take place twice a year, to allow for the manual removal of scale and came at cost of $20,00 0 on top of being an arduous task for employees. Furthermore, EDC calculated that without taking action to remove the silica and iron sulfide regularly, the build-ups would have led to a 65% annual decrease in the output of EDC’s clean, renewable, and sustainable energy in the scale-prone area.
Within four months of implementing Nalco Water’s treatment program EDC achieved a 70% annual reduction in scaling at the site. This extended the period between mechanical pipeline cleanings to once every two years, saving $315,000 and greatly reducing employee risk.
The digital modeling also helped optimize the initial doses from the Nalco Water program for improved sustainability. Overall, the program helped reduce downtime and increase capacity of the two-phase line by 40% versus an untreated line. This contributed strongly to the facility’s total of 200 trillion BTU of clean energy production.
Partners in progress
EDC has been a pioneer in generating 100% clean, renewable, and reliable power for over 40 years and is the largest diversified renewable energy producer in the Philippines. With power plants all over Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao and a total installed capacity of almost 1,500 MW, EDC generates over 40% of the Philippines’ renewable energy output and meets about 10% of the country’s overall electricity demand. The company is committed to advancing sustainability by employing new technologies to reduce its environmental footprint while optimizing operations and recently released the 2021 Integrated report.
“EDC’s partnership with Nalco Water and Ecolab synergizes the strengths of both teams and allowed us to continuously address the complex but worthwhile challenges toward safe and sustained geothermal operations,” said Erlindo Angcoy Jr., Head of Strategic Technology and Innovation — Subsurface Group/Geothermal Resource, EDC.
Greg Lukasik, Senior Vice President and Market Head for Southeast Asia, Ecolab, added: “Renewable sources, such as geothermal power, are crucial for tackling the issue of climate change while meeting the increasing need for electricity demand in a sustainable way. We are proud to harness our Geomizer™ technology to help reduce costs and improve productivity for companies, such as EDC, so they can succeed in their decarbonization mission for the benefit of us all.”
A trusted partner at nearly three million customer locations, Ecolab (ECL) is the global leader in water, hygiene and infection prevention solutions and services that help protect people, planet and business health. With annual sales of $13 billion and more than 47,000 associates, Ecolab delivers comprehensive science-based solutions, data-driven insights and world-class service to advance food safety, help maintain clean and safe environments, optimize water and energy use, and improve operational efficiencies and sustainability for customers in the food, healthcare, hospitality and industrial markets in more than 170 countries around the world. www.ecolab.com