Ammonia in cooling water of thermal power plants

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Thermal power plants require enormous amounts of water, using high purity steam at high pressure to rotate turbines. A separate cooling water circuit is implemented, which helps to form a vacuum when the steam condenses after the turbines. Maintaining this vacuum with optimal condensation parameters is critical for the power plant efficiency. The copper condensers are susceptible to corrosion by ammonia,

leading to an upper limit of 2 mg/L NH3 set by EPRI in cooling water. Small cracks in the condenser combined with the large pressure differential between the steam circuit and the cooling water circuit will contaminate the high purity water in the boiler, causing major problems and necessitating a shutdown for plant maintenance. Monitoring NH3 online in cooling water with a process analyzer can signal early problems in a plant before significant intermediation is necessary.