Importance of using right kind of lubricants in power sector

Mohammed Yousuf and Mohammed Saifuddin | Published: Thursday, 1 January 1970

Lubricants are a mixture of chemicals that are applied in machines to reduce the friction between moving surfaces. The use of vehicles, machines and equipment has become a part of our daily life. Any machine or equipment cannot be imagined without using lubricants. Therefore, it would not be illogical to say that the wheel of civilization has been rotating on lubricants.
Power sectors play an important role in our economy, and will remain essential factor to our continued economic growth and development. As like industrial equipment, the use of lubricants has also become an indispensable part in power generation through gas engines, steam & gas turbines, and associated sectors for its unique characteristics and efficiency. An engineer specialised in power generation can boost the production by selecting the right lubricant for right equipment. The present installed electricity generation capacity of our country is just meeting the demand which is in ever growing mode. The current installed capacity is 13655 MW. Existing power plants of Bangladesh are mostly gas and oil fired ones. Required oil is being imported from outside countries. Currently, gas that comes from domestic sources is going to be accentuated by input of LNG through Matarbari/ Moheshkhali LNG station.
Quality lubricants and proper lubrication process can only keep the operating system of machines smooth and efficient. And ultimately it increases the productivity and outcomes of machines. Unfortunately, lubricant prices seem to be high to our valued customer and therefore the majority of the lubricant market is occupied by low-price and low-tier lubricants. However, some of the lubricating products have been already declared obsolete in other countries of the world due to low performance level. The price of lubricating products depends on its performance, inherent qualities and environmental friendliness.
With the introduction of open market economy, the present market has been flooded with abundant imported lubricants. Sometimes it was observed that such sensitive product has not yet fulfilled customer demand and national standards. Many products are fake, substandard and they contain low quality materials. Thus, the selection of appropriate lubricant for any particular application and to maintain the engine health is a basic demand.
In addition, proper knowledge about the power generating equipment such as steam turbines, gas turbines, generators, boiler feed pumps, ball mills, rod mills and bowl mills can help to select correct lubricants such as turbine oils, open gear lubricants, enclosed gear lubricants and other industrial lubricants. As a result, precise application will enhance overall performance and extend the lifespan of lubricants and equipment. Moreover, an oil analysis allows the experts to recognize the state of lubricant, the wearing and contamination present in the oil. As such, condition monitoring in a regular intervals of the oil is required to diagnose the engine and lube oil condition as it's reflect the exact health of equipment. Some of the major components that reflect the performance of a machine and affect the durability of the engine's oil are oxidation, nitration and elemental analysis. The efficiency of a liquid fuel-based engines depends on the condition monitoring of the following parameters in addition to regular physical testing: Viscosity, TAN, TBN, Oxidation-Nitration, Wear Metals etc.
Apart from the lube oil, one of the vital components in power sector is transformer oil which is used inside the transformer to provide cooling and insulation point of view. Over time aggregated moisture, gasses and solid particles can seriously contaminate and affect the insulating properties. To remove moisture, gasses, and solid particles, regular observation and oil filtration/treatment are required. The periodic and proper treatment of transformer oil/fluids will increase the properties of the insulating system and will extend the life-time of the transformer oil.
Most of the service providers, local and international, have been concentrated their activities within blending and or only sales. Whereas, various post sale services and activities such as In-service Oil Condition Monitoring, Contaminations Control Solutions, Schedule Maintaining Services and Lubrication Reliability Program are required as regular maintaining and observation can enhance the longevity of equipment. Moreover, such programme and schedule monitoring of the lubricants will assist operators and maintenance workers in taking timely decisions relating to the servicing of equipment, engine parts and machinery. Furthermore, HFO (heavy fuel oil) based power plants use residual fuels which container high sulphur content. For that reason, specialty high TBN value lubricants are required.
Previously these testing were to be conducted by foreign testing houses from which consumed a lot of time and foreign exchange and can be a great risk for a running an engine. As a national lube oil brand, Lub-rref (Bangladesh) Ltd. is proud to introduce more than 70 tests including above test facilities in Bangladesh to support our power sector with a very competitive rate. Side by producing finished transformer oil locally, transformer oil treatment services are being provided through transformer oil filtration vehicle which can go onsite of the power plant to restore the insulating properties of transformer oil. In addition, Lub-rref (Bangladesh) Ltd. is a genuine manufacturer of lubricating oil and allied products here in Bangladesh having 30 years of long experience. Lub-rref (Bangladesh) Ltd. experienced in manufacturing transformer oil for supporting the power sectors by maintaining high quality as well as international standards. Lub-rref (Bangladesh) Ltd. is a first accredited testing laboratory in petroleum sector in Bangladesh as per ISO/IEC 17025:2005, ensuring global acceptance of our test report and product quality certificate. Thus, over the years Lub-rref (Bangladesh) Ltd. has raised its position wherefrom they are providing all the above services from and under the same shed.
[Mohammed Yousuf is managing director and Dr. Mohammed Saifuddin is head of lab of Lub-rref (Bangladesh) Ltd. Chittagong, Bangladesh]

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